Laser cutting is a non-contact process that uses a laser to cut materials in order to get dimensionally accurate cuts. This process is done by directing a laser beam to the work-piece, which then either melts, burns, vaporizes away, or is blown away by a jet of gas, leaving an edge with a high-quality surface finish.
TYPES OF LASER CUTTING:
While there are a few different types of laser cutters available, mostly metal laser cutting is carried out by using two types of laser i.e. CO2 and fiber. Also, we will briefly discuss direct diode laser technology.
CO2 Laser cutting:
In this form of cutting, the CO2 is prepared in a mixture along with helium and nitrogen. The laser is then electrically pumped with the help of an electric discharge. CO2 laser cutting offers precise machining of a wide range of materials at low cost. A CO2 laser can cut thicker materials (>5mm) faster than a fiber laser of the same power. It also produces a smoother surface finish when cutting thicker materials.
Fiber Laser cutting:
Fiber lasers are a member of a family called ‘solid-state lasers’. In these, the beam is generated using a solid medium. Fiber lasers are several times more powerful than CO2 lasers, this means that, like CO2 lasers, they can cause burns and blindness, but even indirect exposure to the laser can also cause harm. Sometimes laser cutting on reflective metals, such as sheets of copper and brass, risks damaging the machine due to back reflections. With a fiber laser cutter, the beam is focused on an infinitesimally small point, and the high density of this energy virtually nullifies back reflections. This is one of the main advantages of Fiber compared to CO2.
Fiber laser cutter benefits include:-
- Rapid processing times.
- Reduced energy consumption & bills – due to greater efficiency.
- Greater reliability and performance – no optics to adjust or align and no lamps to replace.
- Minimal maintenance.
- Higher productivity – lower operational costs offer a greater return on your investment.
Direct Diode Laser:
Direct diode laser technology is the latest progress in the field of solid-state lasers. DDL technology utilizes diodes directly. This is managed through eliminating the doped fiber system used in fiber laser technology. Direct diode lasers are also the smallest and most reliable laser source, all while having an exceptionally high quality beam.
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