Nowadays Laser cutting is a key technology in material processing and has developed a new area of application in manufacturing.
Cutting of metals is being carried out by local heating above the materials melting point via the lasers beam focal point. The generated fused material will be removed by gas positioned coaxial to the laser beam so a kerf is produced. While at traditional mechanical methodes massive tooling creates enormous forces to the materials, the laser works contact-free. As a result of this, the laser as a tooling doesn’t wear out, nor does the work piece deforms.
A distinction is made between laser flame cutting, fusion cutting and sublimation cutting.
Advantages of laser cutting vs. mechanical cutting processes at a glance:
- High flexibility and therefore low minimum piece quantity
- Almost all materials are sliceable by laser
- High utilisation of materials
- Cutting edges in micrometer size feasible – often no need for post-processing
- Engraving and marking with the same laser in the same process step possible
- Contact-free and very low-wear processing
Many good reasons for CW fiber lasers:
Traditionally gas-based CO2 lasers has been used for cutting metals, however they are being substituted more and more by CW fiber lasers.
- About 40% higher efficiency of fiber laser vs. CO2 lasers and therefore less cooling efforts required.
- Nowadays fiber lasers are very compact and almost maintenance-free
- Due to shorter wavelength of fiber laser vs. CO2 lasers, the absorption especially on metals is higher.
- The transport of the laser beam to the process optic is via a very flexible process fiber and doesn’t need deflection and positioning optics as with the CO2 lasers
In some cases a pulsed fiber laser (QCW) shows better results than a CW fiber laser (CW = continous wave) as a high energy input into the material supports the cutting process.
Cutting of organic materials you’d use CO2 lasers of our partner Kern Technologies.