A Metal Worker’s Guide to Metal Laser Cutting Machine

Metal Laser Cutting Machine

A metal laser cutting machine is not just an average investment!

Yes, it’s not just about the price you pay; it’s about the machine’s impact on your work. It’s about how quickly your manufacturing has become. Perhaps, this is the reason, why many manufacturers are afraid of investing a major chunk of their revenue for a machine. They know that if they mess their purchase, there will be no turning back, at least for 10 years!

However, the rapid growth of the industry has forced manufacturers to be bold. If they want to see themselves the race, they have part ways with their pragmatic nature. Hence, they will need to join hands and reckon the force of laser technology.

1. What is a Metal Laser Cutting Machine?

It will fair to remark metal laser cutting machines as an invention of the modern era. Since its inception, the machine has helped a manufacturer is more than one way. The most thrilling way one can recall is the reduction of manual efforts along with the reduction of labor costs. Besides, considering the current COVID-19 scenario, this machine has opened new doors of possibility with its smart and efficient involvement in the production of face mask and PPE kits.

However, considering metal cutting as the core of this discussion, laser cutting has tremendously improved metal cutting, which we will discover later in the topic. The machine is configured and designed in such a way that it can process anything from elevator material, cutting auto parts, air conditioning material, fridge material, and many other materials. Likewise, it can also process soft metals, stainless steel, mild steel, carbon steel, and much more.

To cut things short, a metal laser cutting machine features a focused beam of light, in the form of laser, which concentrates energy on a small area of the metal. This leads to burning, melting or vaporizing, of the metal placed in front of the laser. Eventually, creating a hole on the surface of the metal.

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2. How is a Metal Laser Cutting Machine Beneficial to the Manufacturer?

Further, adding a flavor of CNC with this laser cutting machine will allow you to expand your work from cutting to the sophisticated engraving on delicate and precious metals. Thus, be it a complex part of the machine or artistic interior design to be crafted on a raw metal; this machine with some help from CNC can provide these benefits to a manufacturer:

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• Efficient (Time and Cost):

Efficiency in work is one thing that every manufacturer demands from his machine. Given the fact that poor efficiency can severely impact the growth of a company, a metal laser cutting machine is designed to provide a cutting speed of processing metal sheets with a rate of 1-3 meters/minute.

Besides, the energy and cost of production required are lower and rate of production is much higher than the other traditional machines. Hence, it significantly reduced the cost.

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• More Accurate:

Regardless of the metal used, this machine is very capable of producing accurate cuts at a higher speed. The machine is designed in such a way that it smoothens the process by holding the metal appropriately. Besides, the code fed as instructions for the metal laser cutter ensures that the process is repeatable, reliable, and there is no chance of manual error. Thus, accounting for more accurate results.

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• Simplifies Complex Designs:

The metal laser cutting machine is dexterous in terms of providing designs that are complex to a human-hand. With minimum labor and more accuracy, the metalworker is just required to feed the codes, shapes, and sizes into the computer and wait for the machine to bring that alive.

3. Application of Laser Cutting Machine

When speaking about a metal cutting machine, the biggest question is: How to use it? Application of a machine plays a crucial role in determining the degree of willingness of a manufacturer in terms of investing his hard-earned money. And, with the efficiency of the metal laser cutter makes it a manufacturer’s go-to equipment. Besides, here are a few applications which are also a reason why manufacturers want to have this machine:

● Laser burn cutting

● Laser fusion cutting

● Laser remote cutting

a. Laser Burn Cutting

In this, oxygen is used as a cutting gas. During the separation, the oxygen provides extra heat to the workpiece. Hence, it localizes the oxidation process of the material’s cutting joint to accelerate the cutting process.

This kind of cutting is best suited for the manufacturing of heavy-duty materials whose appearance will undergo a continuous change due to the finishing process.

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b. Laser Fusion Cutting

This kind of cutting process facilitates a virtual oxide-free cutting process rather it uses an inert gas as a cutting medium. Laser fusion cutting uses argon or nitrogen, which are reaction-inhibiting in nature, as the cutting gas at a pressure of approximately 20 bar. The inert gas cools the cutting edge by blowing the molten material out of the separating joint.

This type of cutting process is best only when the workpieces don’t go further processing after fulfilling the visual requirements of the finished material. Laser fusion cutting is best suited for thin metal sheets.

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c. Laser Remote Cutting

Sublimation cutting or laser remote cutting is done on the material which is either very thin or very sensitive. This type of cutting does not involve the use of cutting gas rather it uses a laser as a source to vaporize and create fine cutting gaps on the material by removing the layers. The laser beam used is focused on the material by a highly dynamic galvo scanner. Hence, allowing the machine to attain a super cutting speed of more than 100 m/min.

The laser cuts are portrayed by very slight surface roughness and small blur. Accuracy and complex contour are something that a metalworker will not face with this kind of cutting in a metal laser cutting machine. With a smaller heat impact as compared to its counterparts, this machine is appropriate for thin and sensitive materials.

Another advantage this type of cutting offers is the reduced noise level in the production space. Besides, it also offers cost reduction options in both the sharpening and tool production zone.

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4. The Technology of Metal Laser Cutting

The best part about a metal laser cutting machine is that it spoils its manufacturer for choices. Here are two types of metal laser cutting machines that are occupying the market.

● Fiber Laser Cutting Machine

● Direct Diode Lasers

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a. Direct Diode Lasers

Technology is rapidly enhancing the state of the industry, and, Direct diode metal laser cutting technology is an example of that. As the name suggests, direct diode laser technology directly uses diodes for producing laser. In doing so, it eliminates the doped fiber system, which is usually seen in fiber laser cutting machine. Thus, by eliminating the middle process, this machine becomes more potent and efficient with its cutting speed for thick materials to provide superior edge quality for materials like aluminum, steel compositions, stainless steel, etc as compared to fiber.

b. Fiber Laser Cutting Machine

Fiber Laser Cutting Machine made its debut in 2008. With better cutting speed and lower operating cost, this machine uses a bank of diodes to create its laser. This laser is then amplified by a fiberoptic cable and channeled onto the surface of the metal.

With the availability of powerful lasers, this machine has demonstrated an incisive cutting speed of cutting a metal surface of 0.5 inches in thickness. Hence, it comes as no surprise to see as to why a Fiber Laser Cutting Machine is so popular in the metal processing industry. Besides, a Fiber Laser Cutting Machine is also a smart investment. The reason behind this is a fiber laser cutting machine comes with fewer moving parts or mirrors, hence, requiring less maintenance over its fair share of the warranty period.

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5. Why one should invest in Metal Laser Cutting Machine?

Usually, firms opt to subcontract or lease a machine until they have completed the assigned project. Perhaps, this is the best thing to do considering that no one wants to put a large sum of money for a machine which is readily available for a short period of time. Besides, the risk of loss, in this case, is also pretty low.

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However, along with your work, the demand for quality will also increase; not discounting the deadline crunch. Thus, calling for you to make a choice to invest in a metal laser cutting machine.

Amidst, the complexities and anxieties of making a heavy investment; take a look at your past expenses and subcontract, see how much you have spent or paid just to have a machine. Look at how much you could have saved, had you thought otherwise. Doing this will justify your need to bring a metal laser cutting for the house. Apart from that, it will make your manufacturing process fast and efficient. Also, not forgetting, that it will significantly reduce the labor cost.

6. Real-Time Cost of Operating Metal Laser Cutting Machine

It is genuine for a manufacturer to be a little hardheaded before or, even, during the purchase of a metal laser cutter. It is, indeed, that kind of investment! Besides, the expectations of better results are fair. However, it is important to understand the ground reality of the machine.

Regardless of what peers or different sites say, there is a real-time cost attached to this machine. The manufacturer should have knowledge of the operating cost and the level of efficiency of this machine. It is important for the owner to track the efficiency of the machine.

Hence making it imperative to find software that can trace metal laser cutter’s overall work output in comparison to the time. It is in this way, a manufacturer can determine the machine’s impact on the firm’s performance.

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