Laser cutting is a highly developed technology that utilizes the power of lasers to cut various materials in the machining and manufacturing industries. The lasers can produce up to 2000 watts of power. Laser cutting uses data input in the form of electronic data from a computer aided drawing to produce flat, formed parts of the utmost complexity The high-power laser is concentrated, by a computer controller device that in turn directs the focused laser to cut a material. The ideal materials for laser cutting are carbon and stainless steels. Aluminum and copper (alloys) are harder to cut due to their ability to reflect light and absorb heat.
More powerful lasers are needed when dealing with these materials. Excess materials are blown away with a jet of air or water and can actually vaporize due to the enormous amount of energy produced during the laser cutting. The laser is highly effective and produces a clear cut. It is also popular in the machine industry because the laser reduces the need for replacement parts, like blades, due to the fact that the laser won’t wear or get clogged with dirt and debris. Three types of lasers exist for cutting. The first, the CO2 laser, is effectively used for cutting, engraving etc. Second and third, we have the neodymium (Nd) laser and the neodymium yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd-YAG) laser which can both be used for engraving, cutting and boring as well.
In addition, to cutting, these lasers can also be applied to the field of welding. A noted problem with CO2 lasers seems to be the erosion of electrodes on the optic systems, although this happens rarely with regular maintenance. The process of laser cutting is started by the generation of a highly energized light beam. The energy is focused using mirrors to a diameter of .001 of an inch. Excess matter will be vaporized by the laser cutting when the boiling temperature of the material being used is reached.
New laser devices on the market today have an amazing accuracy of 10 micrometers and can repeat cuts with an even greater accuracy of 5 micrometers. Lasers are still fairly new to the machining field but continuing research and development has produced new information that will no doubt lead to more accurate and efficient laser cutting in the near future. If you have a job that requires complex cutting on a flat surface lasers stand as the number one recommendation.
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