Detailed Analysis of Laser Cutting Process and Its Advantages | Janee Precision Hardware

Detailed Analysis of Laser Cutting Process and Its Advantages | Janee Precision Hardware

Detailed Analysis of Laser Cutting Process and Its Advantages | Janee Precision Hardware

Feb 27, 2024

What is laser cutting?
Laser cutting is a process used to cut both metal and non-metal materials of varying thicknesses. The laser beam, guided, shaped, and focused, is the key to cutting the material. When the laser beam hits the workpiece, it heats the material to the point of melting or vaporization. The laser power is concentrated on a point typically smaller than half a millimeter in diameter. If the heat input at this point exceeds the heat lost through thermal conduction, the laser beam will penetrate the material completely, starting the cutting process. Unlike other methods, laser cutting does not require applying significant external forces to the sheet metal, as the laser operates without contact. This means the tool itself does not wear out, and the workpiece remains free from deformation or damage.

Advantages of laser cutting:

Diversified materials

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Contour freedom

By using a focused laser beam, only a localized area of the material is heated, and the remaining workpiece bears minimal to zero thermal load. Consequently, the cutting kerf is nearly as wide as the beam itself, allowing for the smooth and burr-free cutting of highly intricate and detailed contours. In most cases, time-consuming post-processing is no longer required. Due to its flexibility, this cutting method is often utilized in low-volume, multi-variety, and prototype manufacturing.

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Using ultra-short pulses to produce high-quality cutting edges.

Ultra-short pulse lasers can rapidly evaporate almost any material, avoiding significant thermal effects, thus producing high-quality cutting edges with no melt ejection. Therefore, this type of laser is particularly suitable for manufacturing fine metal products, such as stents in the field of medical technology. In the display industry, ultra-short pulse lasers can be used to cut chemically strengthened glass.

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Laser cutting process:
The interaction between the focused laser beam and the workpiece is the foundation of laser cutting. To perform this process safely and precisely, a variety of components and auxiliary materials must be utilized above and around the laser beam, as shown in the diagram below.

1. Focusing lens: The lens and optical reflector focus the laser beam at the processing position.
2. Laser beam: The laser beam strikes the workpiece, heating it until it melts or evaporates.
3. Cutting gas: The molten material produced is expelled from the cut by the cutting gas, which flows coaxially with the laser beam from the nozzle.
4. Cutting groove: During laser cutting, a typical groove pattern forms at the cut edge. When the cutting speed is slow, these grooves are nearly parallel to the extension of the laser beam.
5. Molten material: The laser beam, in the form of a bundled laser, is directed along the contour, melting the local material.
6. Pre-cut trace: The cut on the workpiece is barely wider than the focused laser beam.
7. Nozzle: The laser beam and cutting gas are directed at the workpiece through the cutting nozzle.
8. Cutting direction: The cut is achieved by moving the cutting head or workpiece in a specific direction.

A comprehensive overview of all laser cutting methods:


Flame cutting

In many cases, laser is an ideal universal tool for cutting both metal and non-metal materials. The laser beam can quickly and flexibly cut almost any contour - no matter how intricate or complex the shape, or how thin the material. Different cutting gases and pressures can affect the processing process and results.

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fusion cutting

Fusion cutting

The fusion cutting uses nitrogen or argon as the cutting gas. The gas flows through the kerf at a pressure of 2 to 20 bar. Unlike flame cutting, it does not react with the metal surface inside the kerf. The advantage of this cutting method is that the cut edges are burr-free and oxide-free, requiring minimal post-processing.

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Sublimation cutting

Sublimation cutting is mainly used for precision cutting tasks that require high-quality cut edges. Through this process, the laser minimizes material melting and evaporation. The material vapor generated within the cutting gap creates high pressure, which throws the melt upwards and downwards. Process gases - nitrogen, argon, or helium - protect the cutting surface from environmental influences, ensuring that the cut edges are not oxidized.

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laser cutting

Precision laser cutting

The precise cutting of laser beams utilizes pulsed laser energy to connect individual drill holes, overlapping them by 50% to 90% to form cutting seams. This is achieved by generating very high pulse peak power and extreme power density on the workpiece surface through short pulses. Advantages include minimal heating of the parts, allowing for the cutting of relatively fine parts without thermal deformation.

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Factors Influencing the Laser Cutting Process:

1. Focus position and focus diameter

The location of the focal point affects the power density and the shape of the kerf on the workpiece. The diameter of the focal point determines the width and shape of the kerf.

2. Laser power

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3. Nozzle diameter

Choosing the appropriate nozzle is crucial to the quality of the workpiece. The shape of the gas jet and the volume of gas can be determined by the nozzle diameter.

4. Mode of Operation

The laser energy transfer mode can be controlled by either continuous wave or pulsed operation, determining if the laser continuously or intermittently irradiates the workpiece.

5. Cutting speed

The cutting speed is determined by the specific cutting task and the material to be processed. Generally speaking, the higher the laser power, the faster the cutting speed. In addition, the cutting speed decreases as the material thickness increases. If the speed set for a particular material is too high or too low, it will cause an increase in surface roughness and the occurrence of burrs.

6. Polarization degree

Most CO2 lasers emit linearly polarized light, which affects the quality of cuts depending on the cutting direction. To improve cutting quality, linearly polarized light is often converted to circularly polarized light. The degree of polarization is important for achieving circular polarization and ensuring high-quality cuts. In contrast, solid-state lasers do not require polarization changes as they provide consistent cutting results regardless of direction.

7. Cutting Gas and Cutting Pressure

Different process gases are used according to the cutting method, and they flow through the cutting seam at different pressures. For example, the advantages of argon and nitrogen as cutting gases lie in their non-reactivity with the molten metal in the cutting seam, while also protecting the cutting surface from environmental influences.

8. Laser cutting with mixed gases

By leveraging high-power lasers and the mixture of nitrogen and oxygen gases, structural steel and aluminum burrs can be reduced. The improvement in workpiece quality is dependent on the material quality, type, and alloy of sheets with six to twelve millimeters in thickness.

The above is all about laser cutting, I hope to help you. If you would like to know more about cnc, please contact us

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