Laser Cutting, The Art of Precision Examined
Many manufacturing industries use computer numerical control machines nowadays to speed up their production processes. These machines use several processes, and one of them is laser cutting. Basically, all computer numerical control machines involve giving commands to machines after transforming the digitalized drawing into a computer language.
This language gives the device the instruction needed for executing the designs. The relationship between the language and the machine is like when you send a picture to a printer. Also, this is the same way laser cutting machines work, and they can execute the designs in a short time.
Surface microstructural change of materials cannot occur unless they undergo cutting processes. One of the major techniques for cutting materials for machining is laser cutting. It helps to create patterns according to designs and required outcomes. This process involves melting, burning, and vaporizing materials in the presence of a powerful laser beam. The cutting process is successful with the help of a laser cutter which uses a thin laser beam by focusing on the material. However, before you can start cutting, there must have been a specified target you have in mind based on your designs or patterns. Manufacturers find it hard to cut through some hard materials. However, with the introduction of a laser cutter, it is now easy. While this process is very effective, it is essential to understand the various laser cutting advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Laser Cutting
The advantages of laser cutting technology are enormous. Some of these advantages are discussed below:
1. High Precision and Accuracy
The precision at which the laser cuts into materials is high, and it is by delivering a focused beam of light. The laser is powerful and small, but the accuracy with which it melts and evaporates materials is unparalleled. Most times, the tolerance range of the laser is from 0.003 mm to 0.006 mm.
The tolerance level of a plasma cutter is around 0.02 mm, which is higher than that of laser cutting. Likewise, other cutting tools have tolerance levels between 1 to 3 mm and above. Suppose there is a need for a machine with high precision and accuracy during manufacturing processes. In that case, the go-to tool is usually laser cutters. Thus, the aerospace industry that requires a tight tolerance level uses laser cutting.
2. Low Cost and More Affordable
The economic edge laser cutting has over other CNC machines of the same caliber is one of the advantages of laser technology. There is no need to build a custom tool with the laser cutting technology. You do not also need to modify the device for any project since no extra cutting tools are needed.
Also, there is no wearing out of the surface since there is no physical contact. The cost of maintenance is less than other machining technologies since the laser cutter’s mechanical parts are not much. The cost of operating the machine is also lesser compared to traditional tools for manufacturing.
3. Used for Jobs of Vast Complexity
Many jobs that may be too complex for other cutting technologies are simple for laser cutters. The laser technology can work on the thinnest edge of a material. While the cut area may experience a slight distortion or warping, you can quickly produce complex geometries using a laser cutter. The tolerance level of laser cutting is broad, and it can accommodate a large number of materials.
4. Higher Sheet Utilization with Less Waste
When you use a laser cutter with materials, just a tiny amount of the materials will go to waste. This makes laser cutting stand out from other machines with a considerable portion of the material. With a laser cutter, manufacturers can make maximum use of materials. The cost of production also decreases due to the higher utilization of the resources and less waste material.
5. Damage Prevention
Another advantage of laser cutting is avoiding damages, even to the narrowest materials. Many people tend to believe the misinformation about the device that warping or damaging the materials is unavoidable. The popular belief has the premise of using high heat in the laser cutting process. You should note that heat affects only a small area of the material and does not affect the tolerance. The speed at which the laser cuts through sheets is breakneck, so cutting takes lesser time. Therefore, manufacturers can easily avoid warping and distortion.
6. Compatibility With a Wide Range Materials
The ability of the machine to work on an extensive array of materials is interesting. Besides cutting materials, laser cutting helps with other processes like marking, drilling, and engraving. It is worthy of note that you do not need to switch or replace tools to do all these different works.
Laser cutting does not limit itself to cutting metals alone. Other laser cutting materials include wood, aluminum, plastic, copper, and brass. Laser cutting is a versatile process since it can easily cut through almost all different kinds of materials. A bonus tip: Beniko Industries always takes advantages of the best material to manufacture high precision sheet metal fabricated products.
Despite the many benefits of laser cutting, it also has a few downsides you should know. We will discuss some of them below.
1. The major disadvantage of laser beam machining is that it requires a massive amount of money to maintain.
It can also produce harmful gases when melting plastics.
2. Requires Technical Experts for Operation
A professional operator is required to use all the machine’s features and identify a problem quickly. If the device is not set up correctly, it will affect the materials and cause more significant damage to the laser cutting. Hiring an operating specialist is essential, and this comes with a lot of money since there is a limit to qualified professionals available. To save time on commuting, you can have online meetings through video interviewing software; it would be easier and more flexible.
3. Production of Harmful Fumes and Gases
We mentioned earlier that laser cutting is compatible with various materials. The compatibility of laser cutting with almost all materials has a downside to it. Each material that will melt during the thermal cutting leads to gases and harmful fumes. The production of these toxic gases is usually typical when the material you are working with is plastics.
The introduction of laser cutting provides immeasurable benefits for the manufacturing industries. The machine helps cut many materials within a period, thereby saving time and reducing the cost of operation. It also has widespread usage in industries such as aerospace and automotive industries. Understanding the laser cutting advantages and disadvantages will help you make the best choice for your project. Moreover, you can always contact Beniko Industries for help with your laser cutting services.
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