The Advantages of Laser Cutting

There are several types of cutting processes on the market, and even several types of laser cutting processes. It can be hard deciphering the range of different information that is often laid before you, and deciding which may be the best process for your chosen application or industry.

To help make this a little easier for you, we have put together this guide on the advantages of laser cutting, as well as the advantages between the different types of cutting processes.

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Laser cutting was needed to help make manufacturing processes more efficient

Why was there a need for laser cutting?

The manufacturing and production processes around the world have been developing and innovating at an increasingly rapid rate, and as innovation evolves, so too must all of the processes and people that are helping to drive it.

While conventional forms of cutting worked well, there was a need for a safer, more efficient and more reliable process that could rise in line with the growing demand on manufacturing and production.

Laser cutting has been the solution to this, being able to work faster, more precisely and for longer, it is part of the reason products are able to do more as well as lose unnecessary size and number of components. This has meant that it has been adopted as a fundamental process in numerous industries, including automotive, aerospace, electronics, semiconductors and medical.

Below we have looked at the huge range of advantages that cutting with lasers has supplied to these industries, and others, around the world.

What are the advantages?

The advantages of this process are as follows:

Non-contact process

This means that the laser beam used in doesn’t physically touch the material that it is working with, instead causing the melting and cutting process through heat. This means that damage to the material is minimised and costly repair and maintenance schedules for moving parts that contact the work surface can be avoided.

Low power consumption

This is an important advantage in a world that is looking to work smarter, not harder by driving up production while lowering costs.

A cutting machine will only use around 10kW of power, where other cutting processes use more around the 50kW mark.

A safer method

With the need for increased production comes the need for increased safety too. Laser cutting is a much safer method than other cutting processes as the laser beam that is being used is sealed a tight light box.

Can work with many different materials

Whether its metal, diamonds, plastics, wood, glass or many other materials, a Laser will have no problem cutting it down in size or helping to create complex and intricate shapes.

You can see an example of some of the great shapes that can be created with our eagle, dragon and Tower Bridge creations here.

Laser cutting uses low power consumption

Laser cutting uses low power consumption

Incredibly precision

The highly accurate and precise nature of cutting with lasers is one of the greatest benefits that it has brought. It allows for highly accurate cuts that leave a clean cut and a smooth finish. This has helped products, components and devices to become much smaller, and vastly reduces the amount of material wastage that has been seen in the past.

Isn’t just useful for manufacturing processes

Although it’s main use is for manufacturing and production processes, this isn’t the only area in which laser cutting has delivered a huge impact. It is widely used in the medical sector for cutting human tissue, used in processes such as laser eye surgery.

You can also find it being used in other applications, such as for artistic purposes. One artist even decided to use a laser on food to creatively cut interesting designs and finishes!

One laser can be used for multiple applications

As well as the process of cutting itself being suitable for a range of different applications, you will also find that a single laser has multiple uses too. The beam’s heat output, intensity and duration can be controlled, allowing it to cut in different ways and to work better with different materials.

Furthermore, one cutting laser can be used for many similar laser processes, such as laser engraving, laser marking and laser drilling.

Laser cutting can also be used for laser eye surgery tooLaser cutting can also be used for laser eye surgery too

The advantages of cutting with a fiber laser

It is important to note that there isn’t just one type or technique of laser cutting process, and there are some important differences between them all. We have covered some advantages and disadvantages of the three main laser cutting processes here:

The gas laser cutting process

This process is completed using a gas laser, comprised of C02. While it is commonly used, its wavelength is higher than that of other processes, meaning that it can only work with non-metals.

The crystal laser cutting process

The crystal laser process, which is completed using nd:YAG (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet) and nd:YVO (neodymium-doped yttrium ortho-vanadate) lasers, falls in the solid state group of lasers.

It has the advantage over the gas method as it can work with both metals and non-metals, but a crystal laser machine is constructed from expensive parts and so is expensive to replace.

The fiber laser cutting process

This is the process that we use here at SPI Lasers, due to the benefits that it provides over the other two laser processes. It can work with both metals and non-metals, but has a working service life of around 25,000 hours compared to crystal laser cutting’s 8,000 – 15,000 hours.

It has a beam intensity that is around 100 times stronger than that of a gas laser, and it has inexpensive parts should you need to repair it, although these machines rarely need maintenance.

Looking for more information?

We hope the above has provided you with plenty of reasons as to why the laser cutting process is one of the most advantageous on the planet, but should you have more questions about cutting with lasers and how it works, we would be happy to help.

Image credits: Burak Kebapci and sasint.

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