A laser cutter uses a laser beam to slice through an object with the aid of a computer system to give the laser cutter directions. The laser nears the material undergoing cutting from the side. If there isn’t an edge of an object to approach, then a puncture can be produced. The laser beam is concentrated and pulsed onto the object to be sliced so that a hole is pro ducted and cutting can be continued. Oftentimes, a spray of air, oil or water onto the material occurs after the cutting to clean away left-behind steel. It can also stop “splash back” of debris onto the cutting lens. Laser beams are concentrated by means of lenses. A laser beam can be focused enough to be 0.004 inch. Lasers take a large amount of energy to function. This may be the sole disadvantage that they have in the environment for manufacturing. Lasers can slice a wide range of materials such as steel, aluminum, wood, plastic, foam, fabric, paper, leather, vinyl, film, acrylic, rubber, ceramics and glass.
One category of laser is a CO2 laser. In this category of laser, a gas mixture is brought to an energized level so that the laser to function. The mixture contains the elements carbon, nitrogen and helium. Another category of laser used in laser cutting is a neodymium (Nd) laser. This laser employs the exact employ ability as the CO2 laser, but uses a crystal with small amounts of neodymium in it instead of a gas mixture for the medium. A third category of laser is the laser referred to as neodymium yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd-YAG). The distinction between this laser and the neodymium laser is just in employ ability. The neodymium laser has a slow repetition speed and can be used in high energy applications and for boring. Nd-YAG is employed for engraving and boring but is very high energy.
Methods of Cutting
There are many ways that a laser slices a material. In vaporization, which is for materials like metals that are non-ferrous, the object is heated quicker than it can dissipate the heat and it is vaporized. The material reaches a very high temperature, 50,000 degrees, the cut or kerf becomes longer, and vaporization continues. In the cutting procedure known as melt and blow, a high pressure gas blows the molten material away from the cutting area. The cutting material is most often a metal. In thermal stress cracking, a delicate material comes into contact with the laser’s heat and a stress crack is made. The crack is continued through with the beam from the laser to complete the cut. This process is usually used during cutting of glass. There are many other methods of cutting with a laser as well.
Benefits of Using a Laser Cutter
By using a laser beam to cut, the object is not contaminated during the cutting action since the object being cut does not come into physical contact with a cutting tool. The use of the laser cutter also hurries up the production line processes. The light beam is also extremely accurate, offering an extremely decisive cut. There is reduced wear and tear on the machinery used since there is no laser wear. This also saves money since there is not as much repair involved in the machinery. From cutting to engraving, laser cutters have many applications and there are many advantages to using a laser in the process of cutting in a manufacturing setting.
Marc Anderes is the Vice President of Operations of Maloya Laser which specializes in Metal Manufacturing and <A href=”http://www.MaloyaLaser.com”>Laser Cutting</a> with advanced <A href=”http://www.maloyalaser.com/capabilities_equipment.php”>laser systems</a>, servicing aerospace, medical, machinery, scientific and transportation needs.