Laser cutting is the technology that employs laser to cut a wide variety of materials. Laser cutting is usually used in, but not limited to, industrial manufacturing. In this type of manufacturing, the technology is computer-generated, and it means that the output of a powerful laser is being directed towards the material that needs to be cut. The result is the transformation of the material according to its composition (i.e. it can burn, melt or vaporize away) and a surface finish of high quality. Industrial laser cutting is mainly concerned with cutting piping and structural materials, as well as flat-sheet material.
The advantages that laser cutting holds over the traditional mechanical cutting are numerous. For instance, the lack of any physical contact is probably the most important advantage, or at least as important as precision, given by the fact that there is no wear on the laser. Furthermore, the heat affected zone that lasers have is significantly smaller, which means that the chances of warping the material are also reduced. Laser cutting has also facilitated the process of cutting several types of materials, which were impossible or, at least very hard to cut using traditional means. The laser cutting process requires high energy, which some people consider a disadvantage of employing this method.
A similar process to laser cutting is laser engraving; the most notable difference between the two procedures is that, in the latter, the material is not fully cut through by the laser. As the name describes it, laser engraving refers to objects being engraved or marked using a laser. This procedure too is typically controlled by a computer system, as it can be very complex and technical. The movements of the laser head are driven by the computer system, in quite a similar way to the laser cutting procedure.
The traditional engraving technologies, other than laser engraving, employ tool bits, which have to be changed regularly, as they wear out constantly because they come in contact with the material. Laser engraving, on the other hand, does not imply the use of such tool bits, meaning that it holds a significant advantage over the rest of the engraving technologies.
Some materials have been specially designed to be used in laser cutting, laser engraving, or similar procedures, in which the use of laser is involved. Such materials include novel metal alloys or polymers, and given their “laserable” nature, the effect of laser engraving was all the more notable. Although laser engraving has had the greatest impact on materials such a polymer and alloys, these are definitely not the only types of materials that the technology can be employed on. Wood, plastic, metal, stone, glass, coated metals, ceramic, leather, etc. – all these can be engraved or cut using the laser technology.
You can now use a laser processing system to turn drawings or images from your computer into actual objects made of any of the materials enumerated above, which definitely creates a series of new opportunities for your business.