Laser cutting uses high-power density energy produced by laser focusing to fulfill sheet fabrication.
Compared with traditional sheet fabrication methods, laser cutting boosts high cutting quality, fast cutting speed, and widespread material adaptability, etc.
Currently, laser cutting technology is widely used for metal and non-metallic material manufacturing, which can greatly decrease manufacturing time and lower manufacturing costs, as well as improve workpiece quality.
Divided by the types of lasers, the laser cutting machine can be distinguished into three types: YAG laser cutting machine, CO2 laser cutting machine, and fiber laser cutting machine, which are nice replacement cutting tools for manual labor.
II. Fiber Laser Cutting Machine
The fiber laser cutting machine is a kind of laser cutting machine that regards the fiber laser as the light source.
Its work principle is to produce laser beams that are guided and expanded by fiber-optic cable.
Then the beam will focus on the workpiece, producing a burning or melting point, and be blown by high-pressure gas, thus realizing cutting.
A fiber laser is a high-power density laser beam that is produced by new fiber lasers on the international and produces automatic cutting via CNC system moving spot irradiation position.
The fiber laser cutting machine can be used broadly for cutting assorted metal materials, such as stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, and copper alloys.
Though it can cut non-metallic metal materials, it is mainly designed for metal materials cutting.
Advantages and Limitations
Compared with bulky gas and solid-state lasers, fiber lasers have significant advantages, which are becoming essential for fields like high-precision fabrication, laser lidar systems, space technology, and laser medicine.
High precision and speed:
The fiber laser cutting machine features fast speed and high accuracy when cutting thin sheets.
It mainly adopts a gantry structure. With a high photoelectric conversion rate and low power consumption, it required no working gas.
Thus, at the same power level, the cutting material speed of fiber laser cutting machines is quicker than CO2 lasers.
Also, fiber lasers can decrease the use of lenses, significantly lower maintenance costs, and benefit productivity efficiency.
This fiber laser is very suitable for thin materials, so cutting thick materials may not perform well.
Cutting high-transparency raw materials such as aluminum alloy profiles and copper is rigid.
The initial investment of the machine may be higher than other types of laser cutting machines.
Fiber Laser Source:
The fiber laser source is the heart of the fiber laser cutting machine, which can generate and amplify a laser beam inside the glass fiber.
It usually ranges from 500W to 12,000W according to its output power.
The cutting head has a focusing lens, which can focus the laser beam on the material surface.
It usually includes capacitive sensing to maintain an appropriate focusing distance from the material's surface.
The CNC system is the brain of the fiber laser cutting machine, which controls the machine's movement, laser power, and pulse frequency.
Bed and Gantry:
The bed is used for supporting the material to be cut.
And gantry is a frame that moves the cutting head on the material.
One of the benefits of a fiber laser cutting machine is that it needs the most minor maintenance.
It requires no mirrors to be aligned or laser gas.
However, it is essential to keep the machine clean, maintain no debris on the lens and check the optical cable situation regularly.
The future of fiber laser cutting machines is hopeful and an appealing choice for many industries owing to their efficiency, speed, and precision.
It even offers robust and high-efficiency solutions for cutting numerous materials and will be popular in many fields.
III. CO2 Laser Cutting Machine
The CO2 laser cutting machine utilizes a high-power laser beam to guide it on the surface of the material to be cut via an optical device. The combination of CNC and laser optical systems ensures the beam is precisely irradiated on the material.
The focusing laser beam is irradiated on the material, causing it to melt, burn, vaporize, or be blown away by a strong airflow and finally form a cut with a high-quality edge surface finish.
The CO2 laser cutting machine can cut carbon steel within 20 mm, stainless steel within 10 mm, and aluminum alloy within 8 mm. The wavelength of the CO2 laser is 10.6 UM, which is relatively simple for non-metallic to absorb and can be used to cut nonmetallic materials such as wood, acrylic, pp, plexiglass, etc. With high quality.
Advantages and Limitations
The accuracy of the machine will be better due to the laser beam does not wear out during processing.
And the possibility of cutting material deformation is decreased because of the smaller hot impacted area of the laser system.
Meanwhile, the CO2 laser cutting machine is convenient for clamping the workpiece and reducing workpiece contamination.
According to International Safety Regulation, laser hazards are divided into four levels, and CO2 lasers are the least harmful.
The cost of CO2 laser cutting machines is the highest among the three types of laser cutting machines.
The CO2 laser is the core of the machine, which can generate laser beam for material cutting
The cutting head contains a focusing lens, which can focus the beam onto the surface of the material. Also, it is equipped with a capacitive sensing system for maintaining appropriate focus.
The CNC controller is the brain of the laser cutting machine, which can control the machine’s movement, power of the laser, and pulse frequency.
Bed and Gantry:
The bed is used to support materials to be cut.
And the gantry is a frame used for moving the cutting head.
Auxiliary Cutting Gas Supply System:
This system has two functions, one is to clean the cutting area. The auxiliary cutting gas will blow the molten and oxidized material away from the cutting area, helping to keep the cuts clean and reduce the formation of a second hot impacted area.
The other is combustion assistance: in some applications, such as cutting carbon steel, the cutting aid gas (usually oxygen) can also participate in the cutting reaction, providing additional heat. Thus the cutting speed and efficiency can be increased.
In the process of laser cutting, there may be generating mass heat, and the cooling system is used to keep the temperature of lasers and other important components steady.
The lasers and outer optical components (including the focusing lens) need cooling. According to the size and setting of the system, waste heat can be delivered or directly transformed into the air. Water is a common coolant and is usually cycled through chillers or heat transfer systems.
The maintenance of the CO2 laser cutting machine includes keeping the optical equipment clean and positioning, ensuring the cooling system operating properly, and checking the gas mixture (carbon dioxide, helium, and nitrogen) in the laser.
With the advancement of technology, the CO2 laser cutting machine will be more efficient and functional and will commit to the improvement in consumption and efficiency.
IV. YAG Laser Cutting Machine
Though the YAG laser cutting machine features low cost and good stability, its energy efficiency is usually less than 3%. Currently, the output power is below 800W. It is mainly used for drilling and cutting thin sheets due to its small output energy.
Its green laser beam can be applied under the circumstance of pulsing and constant waves.
It features short wavelengths and good focusing performance.
It is very suitable for precise fabrication, especially effective for drilling fabrication under pulse conditions, and also used for cutting, welding, and lithography.
The wavelength of the YAG solid laser cutting machine is not easy to absorb by nonmetallic, so it is not suitable for cutting non-metallic materials.
The current task for YAG laser cutting machine is to improve the stability and the lifespan of the power supply, that is, to develop a high-capacity and long-life optical pump excitation light source.
If a semiconductor optical pump is used, energy efficiency can be significantly increased.
These different types of laser-cutting machines have greatly changed metal sheet fabrication and other mechanical projects. They offer high-accuracy cutting for complex shapes, which can improve working efficiency, reduce waste and simplify the productivity process.
Though faced with challenges, the prospects of laser-cutting machines remain bright due to their indispensable characteristic.
Thus, it is not only beneficial to know more about the types of laser cutting machines but also indispensable for companies looking to optimize operations, reduce waste and increase productivity.
ADH's laser cutting machine includes a single table fiber laser cutting machine, double table fiber laser cutting machine, dual-use fiber laser cutting machine, tube laser cutting machine, and precision laser cutting machine.
1. What factors should be considered when choosing a laser cutting machine?
When choosing a laser cutting machine, please consider factors such as the type of material to be cut, required accuracy, speed, production cost, and machine energy efficiency.
2. Is the laser cutting machine safe to use?
Although laser-cutting machines are usually safe to use when following appropriate safety protocols, they may also cause hazards such as burns, eye injuries, and exposure to smoke. The use of appropriate safety equipment and training is crucial.
3. How efficient is the fiber laser cutting machine compared to other types?
Fiber laser cutting machines are known for their high efficiency, especially when cutting thin materials. Compared to other types of laser cutting machines, they can also significantly save energy.
4. Can laser cutting machines carve or cut?
Yes, certain types of laser cutting machines (such as Nd and Nd YAG lasers) are very suitable for carving tasks other than cutting.
5. What are the advances in laser cutting machine technology?
The progress of laser cutting machine technology includes improvements in accuracy and cutting speed, energy efficiency, the development of machines capable of cutting thicker materials, and the integration of intelligent software for improving automation and control.