What Challenges Do Laser Cutting Workers Usually Encounter When Cutting Through Various Materials?

For the uninitiated, lasers denote high power beams that can be useful for cutting a wide selection of materials. These beams of light can be very intense. Thus, they can easily melt, burn or vaporize any type of material. Metalworkers will often focus the laser beam through a lens. This will typically produce a kerf as narrow as 0.10 mms, depending on the thickness of the metal. Laser cutting remains a fairly new technology. They first came into use in the 1970s for specialized applications such as cutting titanium rods in the aerospace industry. Within a decade, the technology had entered the metal processing industry. This technology has made it easier for workers to produce increasingly complex products with enhanced levels of quality, precision levels, speed and accuracy. Today, the use of laser technology impacts various areas of everyday life including medical applications, telecommunications and quantum physics.

In contemporary times, industrial manufacturing establishments and sheet metal manufacturing companies in Ingleburn and other places have taken to using laser cutting technology in a big way. This technology can be ideal for cutting an assortment of materials including wood, plastic and metal. However, on some occasions, workers can find the use of laser cutting technology cumbersome. This scenario will typically play out when laser cutting machines:

  • Do Not Cut Thick Materials Effectively: Laser cutting can be effective for thin sheets of most materials. But, the thicker the material, the less effective laser cutting machines will be. In addition, laser cutting machines could experience blowouts or thermal runaways when they cut through thick materials such as thick sheets of carbon steel. Sometimes, focusing the beam further and reducing the spot size can yield the desired results.
  • Produce Uneven Cutting Results: It can be worth mentioning that laser cutting can affect different part geometries in different ways. For instance, corners of parts or smaller areas can absorb more heat. This can make it hard for the workers to maintain consistent cutting speeds. Thus, the more complex the part geometry happens to be, the less accurate the cutting will be too. To avoid overheating, some workers increase the laser’s speed when they cut curves and corners.
  • Produce Cuts Based on the Quality of the Material: Laser cutting machines can be highly sensitive to the quality of the material. This makes them quite unlike other metal cutting processes. In many cases, the quality of the material will play a significant role in producing the desired outcome. To cite an example, consider cutting carbon steel with laser cutting machines. Carbon steel comprises an array of different elements. Each element will have a different melting point. Thus, when this sheet comes into contact with the laser beam, each element will produce a different reaction. Therefore, it can be worth mentioning that materials with consistent compositions will produce cleaner cuts. So, if you want to produce a high-quality metal storage cabinet, consider making it from steel sheets that only comprise a few elements and remain clean and oil-free.

It can be worth highlighting that several types of laser cutting technologies abound in contemporary times. Each of these will be ideal for use with specific materials in specific applications. For instance, CO2 lasers remain based on a carbon dioxide gas mixture, which work when electrically stimulated. These lasers rank among the most widely used variety of laser cutting technology. They remain suitable for use with various materials – including plastics and other non-metallic materials. Similarly, fibre lasers become amplified in specially designed glass fibres, which produce exceedingly small focal diameters. These solid-state lasers can be ideal for cutting reflective metal material. These lasers produce beams that have intensities up to 100 times higher than their CO2 counterparts. Lastly, crystal lasers use crystals as the lasing medium. They produce the same wavelength as fibre lasers. Hence, workers often use them for marking metals and plastics. But, you will need to remember that crystal lasers have shorter service lives than fibre lasers. In addition, crystal lasers often come with relatively expensive wearing parts, which can increase project costs too. Therefore, ensure you work with a laser cutting company that uses the right laser cutting technology for your specific requirements.