Advantages of laser cutting

The burr-free advantages of laser cutting

September 25, 2020

Despite being developed way back in the 1960s, laser cutting is still going strong vis-a-vis traditional and recent alternatives. Linking laser cutting systems with CAD/CAM-programmed CNC machines has enabled automation as well. The combination of precision, speed and automation gives laser cutting an industrial advantage competing processes such as punchcutting, plasma cutting, abrasive waterjet cutting, ultrasonic cutting, oxyfuel cutting, sawing, and milling. While laser caters to a wide range of production processes such as welding, marking, drilling, engraving, ablation, cleaning, and additive manufacturing (3D printing), its most popular use is for cutting. Some of the advantages of laser cutting include the following:

Clean edges, high cut quality: The thermal process that melts, burns and evaporates material using a tightly focused beam of light creates precise, burr-free cuts with clean edges for a certain range of thickness. These days, the improvements in beam quality and process monitoring are producing even finer edges.  

Speed and efficiency: At 10 meters a minute, the travel speed of laser is several times more than that of traditional cutting technologies, especially when it comes to complex cuts. It can also combine multiple operations in a single step.  

High accuracy and precision: As laser beams can cut with high accuracy in the range of +/-0.1 mm, it allows for a more efficient use of material, limiting scrap creation to a minimum. 

No contact, no wear and tear: As the laser cutting process involves only a beam coming into contact with the material rather than moving parts, it mean no wear-and-tear issues and less surface blemishing.  

Smaller HAZ, lower distortion: The heat affected zone (HAZ) is the area of the material being cut affected by the high heat of thermal cutting. Even though laser cutting is a thermal cutting technique, it has the smallest HAZ amongst all the thermal cutting techniques, which means more reliable parts. 

Flexibility and versatility: Laser equipment can not only work with a range of materials and alloys but also be quickly repurposed. In other words, a single laser with the same set-up can be put to use in multiple applications, as all that’s required to work different materials into different forms is to load the schematic and make programming-level changes in parameters such as intensity and output. 

Better geometries: Multi-axis laser cutting systems allow for the cutting of challenging geometries. For example, in 5-axis laser cutting, parts can either be stationary or moved by a robot, as the laser cuts a path in 5 axes of motion.  

Regardless of all the advantages of laser cutting, it’s fair to consider the downsides too. Perhaps the single biggest disadvantage of laser cutting is the dependence on the skill of the operator who ultimately takes the call on the right parameters for a given production process. The operator will also have a say in the choice of assist gases because when cut quality is enhanced with the use of inert assist gases, notably nitrogen. Bear in mind that the most reliable and economical supply option is on-site generation. 

Key advantages of onsite Nitrogen generation

  • Round-the-clock availability
  • Lower opertional costs
  • Safer handling
  • Easy integration
  • Reduced carbon footprints

Generating nitrogen on-site

If you’re looking to add to the advantages of laser cutting, having an on-site nitrogen generator will not only reduce your operating costs (compared to third-party supply) but also provide a constant flow of nitrogen gas when downtime can be catastrophic.

Generating nitrogen on your own with an on-site generator allows safer handling and ensures a lower carbon footprint. Additionally, on-site nitrogen generators, such as those from Pneumatech, are easy to integrate into existing systems.

Pneumatech provides multiple nitrogen solutions for laser cutting through the PPNG gas generator range that can attain a purity of up to 99.999%

Pneumatech designs and manufactures both standard and engineered on-site gas generator products. Explore Pneumatech’s full range of nitrogen generators. Or get in touch with us right away. Or get in touch with us right away. Call at +49 (0)2841 788 480 or e-mail support-eu@pneumatech.com.