Сutting metals

Complex contour laser cutting of metals up to 12mm thick is widely used in production, and is now one of the most commonly applied technologies in the laser processing industry. With modern small-scale, no-storage manufacturing, it is always preferable to have fast metal-cutting processes, among which laser cutting occupies a unique position.

Laser cutting is used in the manufacture of a variety of industrial components, such as instrument panels, boards, and saw blades. It can also be applied in other diverse fields, such as art, sculpture, and architectural model making. At the development stage of new products, laser-cutting technologies are particularly beneficial as the flexibility of the laser cutting system significantly reduces the time required to establish production processes.

Laser cutting can achieve accuracy of 0.2-0.4 mm with the cutting length of up to several meters and a cut width of 0.2-0.4 mm. Precision cutting blanks and the heat zone affected during laser cutting is measured in tenths of a millimeter, whereas in conventional methods the size variation and defect edges reach 1 millimeter or more

Cutting steel

Laser cutting of carbon steel is usually carried out with the use of oxygen as the cutting gas. When oxygen reacts with the heated laser beam, the metal oxidation reaction is exothermic and the heat evolved in the oxidation of iron is typically 3-5 times stronger than the input power of the laser radiation. The products of combustion (oxides) are blown out with the same oxygen jet. The cutting width is determined by the diameter of the focused beam as well as the speed of the cut, and can be lowered to values ​​of around 0.15mm.

Laser cutting of stainless steel

Among the many ways of processing stainless steel, laser cutting is considered to be the most effective in terms of product quality. However, it brings certain challenges. Processing stainless steel, particularly when thick, leads to slagging. Slagging is caused by the parts of the alloying elements called refractory oxides, which form during the cutting process. During the cutting process, the refractory oxides prevent radiation from being supplied directly to the material.  The slagging problem is solved by increasing gas pressure, after which the cut surface becomes flat and smooth.

Aluminum cutting

Since aluminum and its alloys have high thermal conductivity and low absorption capacity when impacted by a laser, laser cutting of aluminum can be much more difficult than iron-carbon materials. The problem lies in the fact that it is hard to achieve stability when cutting aluminum — a drawback that makes the process more time-consuming and may decrease the quality of the cut.

Cutting copper and brass

Materials such as brass and copper have high thermal conductivity and a high reflection coefficient — characteristics that make them difficult to cut using the laser method. Typically, laser cutting of copper is performed using the repetitively pulsed YAG laser mode. It is possible to obtain a perfect quality surface when using materials with a thickness of less than 2mm. Laser cutting of brass gives a slightly rough surface of the end part due to burr on the lower edge, but this is easily corrected by further processing. Please note that, the thicker the sheet of copper or brass, the worse will be the quality of the end surface, requiring additional treatment.