Professionals have been using lasers in the process of making all sorts of products, such as signage, for over two decades now. This time frame has seen many changes, but the use of laser techniques, such as laser cutting, laser engraving or laser marking are more and more widely preferred by professionals when they want to provide their customers with high quality products and services.
Laser cutting is typically a thermal process in which the material in a localized area is cut with a focused laser beam. A clean edge is obtained after the molten material has been ejected from the cut by using a co-axial gas jet. Moving the laser beam under CNC control produces a continuous cut.
High power lasers are frequently used in industrial processes, and laser cutting is probably the largest application of all. The range of applications that employ laser cutting is very large, from smaller batch manufacturing and prototyping to continuous production line systems.
Over the past few years, the use of this laser cutting technology has experienced dramatic increase, and its increased flexibility represents an advantage over choosing the more conventional mechanical processes. Laser cutting comes with a series of notable improvements in edge squareness, accuracy, heat input control, etc. This is the reason why laser cutting has gained so much ground over the other profiling techniques, such as oxy-fuel cutting or plasma cutting.
All in all, the benefits of the laser cutting technique can be summarized to the following: it provides a high quality cut, which requires no additional finishing; it can cut virtually any material; it requires no contact, meaning that it leaves no marks; it comes with low heat input, which translates in low distortion; it has enhanced flexibility, for both simple and complex parts; and it can be set up very quickly.
The laser engraving technique uses the same laser beam as tool, which ultimately results in lower costs, as the non-contact mark that the laser produces comes with significantly less wear on tooling. The chances for the product to be deformed and/or damaged are also considerably reduced with laser engraving, as compared to more conventional methods of engraving.
Other advantages of the laser engraving technique include: it produces clean and permanent marks; it provides greater versatility as far as the choice of material is concerned, as it is faster than most other product imprinting methods; the same machine can be used for both engraving and cutting thin materials.
Laser engraving is now performed with highly evolved equipment, as compared to that of the early days of this technique. The constant flow of gas is no longer necessary, as lasers are now sealed. Safety is not an issue anymore, and the machines are considerably simpler to learn, operate and maintain. The evolution of the laser engraving equipment can also be seen in the increased speed of engraving, as well as in the more numerous features they have. And above all, laser engraving equipment is operated by means of computer technology, which is probably the most important change of all.
All in all, the laser equipment used nowadays is easy to learn, operate and take care of, as well as more affordable and feasible to many people. In other words, all these laser technologies can make a great difference to your business.