Laser or LASER is not a word. Rather, it is an abbreviated form standing for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. In laser cutting, sheets of materials are cut by using a beam of high intensity light, so high that as it touches the metal surface, it cuts it by burning, melting, or evaporating it. Laser cutting mainly uses the carbon dioxide laser and Nd: YAG. However, the demand of semiconductor lasers is increasing due to their high efficiency.
Laser cutting is growing in popularity owing to its accuracy and high speed. CNC laser cutting is the combining of the computer robot with the laser system. CNC stands for computer numerical control. CNC lasers use an automated software guided system for the laser cutting process.
CNC laser cutting has enabled high precision in the cutting process and has effectively reduces related costs, because there is little human labor involved in the process other than setup. Consequently, it has also cut down the time required for the processes, thus enhancing its overall efficiency.
Before the metal sheet is cut into the desired shape, a hole is first made somewhere along the line to be cut. Then the laser beam is focused through this hole. After this, either the laser beam is moved keeping the sheet constant or the laser beam is fixed and the sheet is moved.
ALTERNATIVES: The possible alternatives that can be used in place of laser cutting are abrasive water jet cutting, plasma cutting and CNC machining. In CNC machining, however, there is a major disadvantage of production of micro-irregularly cut edges.
1. The laser systems do not contaminate the material being cut with the cutting machine’s metal.
2. It is also more precise because laser cutting is sharp and hence can claim more accuracy.
Laser cutting may heat some materials and cause distortion, but this depends on material thickness and temperature characteristic. Waterjet cutting may be an alternative, or even photochemical etching for very thin stock.
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