What Should Metal Companies Know About Laser Cutting?

Laser cutting is more accurate yielding stunning cut quality with a small kerf width and heat affect zone.

FREMONT, CA: Laser, which is an acronym for “light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation”, is used in various applications. Metal fabrication companies have started utilizing lasers for custom sheet metal fabrications. They use lasers to produce large fabrications and parts for production welding. Laser cutting can also be used for cutting metal plates. On metals like mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum plate, the processes are highly accurate with the excellent cut quality and possess a very small kerf width and heat effect zone. With laser cutting, it is possible to make very intricate shapes and small holes.

Here, the laser machine can be used as a large magnifying glass to focus the light energy into a powerful and narrow beam. Emerging lasers use fiber optics to deliver the energy beam. Industrial lasers use electrical power to create a laser beam. Many lasers utilize a series of advanced optical lenses that bend the bend throughout the machine tool to deliver the concentrated beam to the cutting surface. When the beam is concentrated, it can attain great energy levels. The conventional laser cutting wattages ranging from 4,000 to 6,000 watts can cut over an inch thick of steel plate. Whereas, there are some reflective materials like copper and aluminum, which are conducive to laser cutting as it tends to reflect some of the power and not absorb it into the cutting function.

The laser beam performs rapid heating, melting and partial or complete vaporizing of the material. The heat produced by the laser beam when cutting mild steel is enough to begin a typical “oxy-fuel” burning process. The laser cutting gas will contain pure oxygen, like an oxy-fuel torch. The laser beam, when cutting stainless steel or aluminum, melts the material, and high-pressure nitrogen is used to blow out the molten metal of the kerf. The laser machine, when appropriately controlled results in a stable, reliable and accurate cutting process.

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