The Laser Cutting Process
For Laser cutting, the beam must be focused by a lens to a small spot size, typically 25-100µm in diameter for fine cutting and 100um to 300µm diameter for thicker section cutting. Coaxial gas is delivered just above the Laser focus by a nozzle that surrounds the Laser beam. This helps to keep the optics clean and improves the cutting process by pushing vaporised and liquified material out through the kerf. Gases such as oxygen and air are used to promote the cutting of ferrous alloys and cellulose materials. Air is often used with plastics. High-pressure inert gas is used when cutting some metals to leave an unoxidised edge with little dross.
Laser Cutting Benefits
- Applicable to a wide range of materials and thickness
- Narrow kerf widths
- High speeds
- High repeatability
- Easily automated and programmable
- Flexibility in changeovers
- Reduced tooling costs and reduced set-up times
- Non-contact process (no tooling wear or breakage, minimal material distortion)
- Versatile (the same tool can be used for Laser drilling and Laser welding)
- Capacity for high degree of beam manipulation (true 3D cutting).
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