Laser Cutting Machine Basics

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Publish Date: July 14, 2023

I. Introduction

1. What Is Laser Cutting Machine

Laser cutting machine is a device used for cutting workpieces through the high-power density laser beam.

It plays a pivotal role in the metal processing industry, which boosts high precision, fast cutting speed and fine surface finish etc.

It can deal with various metal materials, such as steel, aluminum, copper, etc., and can cut straight or curved lines to meet the processing needs of various complex shapes.

2. Importance and Applications of Laser Cutting Machines in Various Industries

Laser cutting machine is widely applied in many aspects, including automotive manufacturing, aerospace, mechanical manufacturing, metal products, electronic equipment, etc.

Not only can it improve the efficiency of productivity, but also ensure the precision and quality of the workpiece.

For example, in automotive manufacturing, laser cutting machine can cut intricate shapes of components precisely to meet its high efficiency and high quality requirement of productivity.

Also, in the aerospace industry, it can process high-strength and high-hardness materials to manufacture precision aviation parts.

Additionally, it works greatly on enhancing the manufacturing precision of metal products and electronic equipment.

In all, laser cutting machine is essential for modern industrial production and has widespread usage.

II. Understanding Laser Cutting

laser cutting machine

1. Explanation of the Term “Laser” and Its Significance in the Machine

Laser is a highly concentrated beam produced by a laser. It features high monochromaticity, coherence, and directionality. In laser cutting machine, laser beam is used for cutting assorted materials such as metal, plastics and wood. The high monochromaticity makes laser produce high power density in a very small area, achieving an accurate and high efficient cutting process.

2. Basic Principle of Laser Cutting

The basic principle of laser cutting machine is to heat the material to the temperature of melting or vaporization via high energy density of laser beam, then blow away the melted or vaporized material through gas injection to achieve cutting.

Laser cutting machine is mainly composed of laser, optical system, cutting head, and control system.

The laser beam produced by laser is focused by the optical system to achieve a high energy density.

Then it uses cutting head to focus the laser beam on the workpiece to operate cutting process.

The control system controls the power of the laser and the movement of cutting head, ensuring an accurate cutting process.

3. Different Types of Lasers Used in Cutting Machines

In laser cutting machine, the most common types of lasers are CO2 laser, fiber laser and solid-state laser.

CO2 laser is the most common type of laser, suitable for cutting non-metallic materials and certain metallic materials.

Fiber laser features high solar-cell efficiency and small volume, suitable for cutting metal materials.

And solid-state laser boosts for higher power and shorter pulse width, suitable for high precision cutting and fine productivity.

Choosing an appropriate laser type depends on the requirement for cutting materials and cutting.

The laser cutting technology is widely used in metal fabrication and sheet fabrication aspects. It can achieve a high precision, high efficiency and flexible cutting process, which brings tremendous convenience and benefits to the manufacturing industry.

With the continuous development and innovation of technology, the laser cutting machine will play a paramount role in different aspects of industries and drive the progress and development of the manufacturing industry.

III. Components of Laser Cutting Machine

1. Laser Generator

The laser generator is the heart of the laser-cutting machine. It generates the laser beam used for cutting and carving materials.

Generators use laser media (such as gas mixtures or crystals) that are excited to higher energy states.

When the laser medium returns to its normal state, it will emit photons and generate a laser beam.

The quality of the laser beam (its power and focus) mainly relies on the design and quality of the generator.

2. Cutting Head

The cutting head is the place where the laser beam is emitted from the machine and interacts with the materials to be cut.

It contains a focusing lens that can concentrate the beam to the point onto a small point on the surface of the material.

The strong energy produced by the focusing laser beam makes the material evaporate, thus forming a notch.

The cutting head usually is equipped with a height follower system that maintains a constant and optimal distance between the cutting head and the material.

3. CNC Controller

The CNC controller is the brain of the laser-cutting machine. It explains CAD (computer assistant design) data and transforms it into accurate mechanical movement.

This makes laser-cutting machine cut and engraves complex shapes precisely. The CNC controller also manages other machine parameters, such as power output, cutting speed, and auxiliary gas flow rate.

4. Assist Gas System

Assist gas system plays an important role in laser cutting process.

It transports airflow (usually oxygen, nitrogen, or compressed air) at the cutting point.

Assist gas is beneficial to blow away melted materials, cool the cutting area and impacts the quality of cutting edge.

The choice of assist gas and its pressure depends on the type of materials being cut.

5. Material Handling Equipment

The material handling equipment is essential for the high efficiency operation of the laser cutting machine.

It is composed of loading and unloading systems, conveyors, and automatic storage systems, which assists in moving raw materials into machine and removing the cut parts.

These components decrease the machine setting time to the maximum through shortening the manual labor to greatly improve the productivity of laser cutting operation.

IV. Types of Laser Cutting Machines 

1. CO2 Laser Cutting Machines

CO2 laser cutting machine is one of the most common laser cutting machine.

It uses the CO2 laser to emit laser beam, which features higher power and longer wavelength.

It is applied for cutting non metallic materials such as wood, plastics and rubber.

And it boosts for high speed, high precision and smooth cutting edges.

2. Fiber Laser Cutting Machines

Fiber laser cutting machine is a new type laser cutting machine, which utilizes fiber lasers to emit laser beam and features higher power and shorter wavelength.

It is suitable for cutting metal materials such as steel, aluminum, and copper, and has a characteristics of high speed, high precision and and a small heat affected area.

3. Nd:YAG Laser Cutting Machines

Nd: YAG laser cutting machine adopts the Nd:YAG laser to produce laser beam and has higher power and shorter wavelength.

It can be used for cutting metal materials such as stainless steel and titanium alloy.

Also, it features high speed, high accuracy and and a small heat affected area.

4. Comparison of Different Types of Machines and Their Applications

CO2 laser cutting machine is suitable for non metallic materials cutting. The fiber laser cutting machine and Nd:YAG laser cutting machine are applicable for metal materials cutting.

The CO2 laser cutting machine features higher power and longer wavelength, while fiber laser cutting machine and Nd:YAG laser cutting machine feature higher power and shorter wavelength.

Fiber laser cutting machine and Nd:YAG laser cutting machine have a small heat affected area, which can achieve more precise cutting.

When choosing laser cutting machine, comprehensive consideration needs to be given to factors such as material type, cutting requirements, and budget.

V. Advantages and Disadvantages of Laser Cutting

Double Table Fiber Laser Cutting Machine

1. Benefits of Using Laser Cutting Machines

As an advanced cutting tool, the laser cutting machine has many advantages.

Firstly, it features high precision and accuracy. Laser beam can control the cutting position and shape accurately, making the cutting process very precise.

Thus in the field of manufacture industry, especially the area required for high accuracy components, the laser cutting machine boosts for its universality.

Next, the laser cutting machine has high speed cutting ability. The high energy density produced by laser beam makes cutting speed very fast, which benefits the productivity greatly.

Compared with traditional mechanical cutting tool, laser cutting machine can finish the cutting task faster.

What’s more, laser cutting machine features flexibility and multi-functionality.

It can cut a variety of materials including metals, plastics, wood and textiles.

It can be adjusted and set according to different needs to meet different cutting requirements.

2. Limitations and Challenges of Laser Cutting

Though laser cutting machine has lots of benefits, it still remain some restrains and challenges.

At first, the cost of laser cutting machine is relatively high. The cost of purchasing and maintaining the machine is relatively high, so it is improper for some small business.

Then, the energy consumption of machine is relatively large, which needs for additional energy support.

Additionally, the requirement for materials is relatively high. Some materials are not suitable for laser cutting or needs specific handling.

For example, some plastic materials may produce harmful gases and corresponding safety measurements need to be taken.

Plus, when handling thicker materials, the laser cutting machine may face some challenges.

The power and energy density of laser cutting machine maybe not sufficient for thicker metal materials, resulting in unsatisfactory cutting effects.

In all, although laser cutting machine features many advantages such as high efficiency, high speed cutting and versatility, it still has some limitations and challenges such as high costs, material requirements and restrains for thicker materials.

When choosing the machine, all these above factors need to be considered comprehensively, and you should make wise decisions according to actual needs.

VI. Future Trends in Laser Cutting 

The future of laser cutting technology will bring progress in power, speed, accuracy, precision, intelligence, and automation.

With the improvement of laser sources and optical systems, the laser cutting machine will be more powerful and faster.

The combination of advanced control system and automatic technology will make the machine more intelligent and automatic.

These progresses will leave a profound impact on industry, especially the manufacturing, via improving productivity, meeting the higher accuracy requirements and simplifying process.

The result will be product quality, cost-effectiveness, and market competitiveness improved.

VII. Conclusion

In conclusion, ADH's laser cutting machines offer unparalleled precision and efficiency in metalworking, sheet metal fabrication, and various mechanical engineering applications.

Our machines are designed to enhance productivity and quality, making them an essential investment for your business.

Don't miss the opportunity to elevate your operations with ADH's state-of-the-art laser cutting technology.

Act now and transform your production process today!

We can help you choose the right laser cutting machine and provide robust after-sales support. If you need information about our laser cutting machine, please contact our sales staff or browse our laser cutting machine product page.

FAQs:

  • How does a laser cutting machine work?

The laser cutting machine positions the high power laser beam onto the materials to be cut. The computer will guide the movement of laser beam according to the pre- design to cut the materials accurately.

  • Is it safe to use a laser cutting machine?

It is safe for you to use the laser cutting machine as long as you use the machine properly and obey the safety guidance.

However, due to the extremely high temperature produced by the laser, the operator must always wear appropriate protective equipment.

  • What is the cutting accuracy of the laser cutting machine?

The laser cutting machine can offer extremely high cutting precision, and usually up to 0.1 mm.

  • What should I pay attention to when maintaining a laser cutting machine?

The maintenance of laser cutting machine mainly includes regular cleaning of the machine, checking the focus and path of the laser, as well as regular inspection and replacement of consumables.

  • What is the operating cost of a laser cutting machine?

The operating cost of laser cutting machine depends on multiple factors, including the power consumption, the life span of laser resource and the using conditions of other consumption.

  • Where can I buy a laser cutting machine?

You can purchase laser cutting machines directly from our ADH company. We provide various types and specifications of laser cutting machines to meet your various needs.

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