Laser Cutting: Advantages and Benefits
If you’re working in the field of manufacturing, and you’re considering using laser cutting in your next project, you may be wondering about what the advantages are. Is laser cutting really better than traditional cutting using dies, punches, and other similar tools?
To help you learn more about it and why it’s so useful, we’ve put together this list of just a few laser cutting advantages
7 Laser Cutting Advantages
High Accuracy and Precision Cuts
Laser cutting uses an extremely small, powerful laser which delivers a focused beam of light to the material it’s cutting with extreme precision.
The powerful laser melts and evaporates material with unparalleled accuracy, with typical tolerances of 0.003 mm to 0.006 mm, in most cases. In contrast, a plasma cutter usually has a tolerance of about 0.02 mm, and some die cutting tools have tolerances as high as 1-3 millimeters or more.
When extremely high accuracy and precision are required, laser cutters are almost always the best choice. This is one of the reasons that laser cutting is often used in the aerospace industry, where tolerances are extremely tight.
Low Lead Times with No Need to Replace or Modify Tooling, Lower Costs
One of the best benefits of a laser cutter is that it’s economical to use laser cutting even for limited-run projects. This is because a laser cutter does not use any kind of tooling that must be custom-built or modified for your project. It also does not have physical cutting surfaces which wear out.
To create a component or part with a laser cutter, all you need is a material to cut, a laser cutter, and a schematic which can be loaded into the computer. This reduces overall costs even for small-batch projects, particularly when compared to traditional tooling and manufacturing.
Laser tools also have fewer mechanical moving parts, which reduces maintenance and operations costs and helps keep the cost of using a laser cutting company low.
Can Handle Jobs of Almost any Complexity
There is no job that is too complex for a laser cutter. The high-powered laser can be used to work on a very narrow section of material and causes very little warping or distortion to the area being cut.
With the proper schematic, a laser cutter can be used to quickly and easily create even the most highly-complex geometries and cuts with unparalleled precision and excellent tolerance levels.
Higher Sheet Utilization with Less Waste
Another benefit of the precision and accuracy of laser cutting is that it can utilize a very high percentage of your sheet material. By nesting cuts properly, a laser cutter can maximize the number of usable components and parts from any given sheet of material.
Again, this leads to lower overall costs for your project and faster completion times. Less time is needed to swap in new sheets of material, and less of your raw material is wasted by the machining and cutting process.
Causes No Damage Or Warping, Even to Thin Materials
A common misconception about laser cutting is that the high heat causes a lot of distortion and warping. But this is not true. The Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) of laser cutting is actually quite small, and typically causes no issues with the tolerance of the part or component.
Because of this, lasers are actually ideal for cutting extremely thin materials. The laser cuts through the material so quickly that it will not become excessively hot and warp. The HAZ is so small that it can be easily machined away, if necessary.
6. Low Power Consumption
While the laser used to cut materials uses quite a bit of energy, laser cutters do not have any other moving parts – unlike presses and some other cutting tools, which require enormous amounts of energy to deliver cutting force using a physical die.
A turret punch, for example, may consume up to 36 kW of energy when used at full capacity. In contrast, laser cutters rarely require more than 10 kW of energy — even when they are being used to cut extremely thick, reflective materials like aluminum.
This helps decrease overall running costs, and also reduces the overall impact of laser cutting machines on the environment.
Extreme Cutting Versatility — Can be Used on Almost any Material
When it comes to laser cutting advantages, this is an important benefit. Laser cutting can be used for a huge variety of different tasks, and not just cutting through a material completely. Lasers can also be used for drilling, marking, and engraving, just to name a few functions – without needing to replace or switch any tooling.
Not only that, but laser cutters can be used on almost any material. From ferrous metals like stainless steel to copper, aluminum, brass, and even other materials like composites, wood, plastic, and even some types of textiles. A laser cutter can be used to cut just about anything.
While lasers are not usually suitable for extremely thick metals – where a water jet or plasma cutter may be recommended – the versatility of laser cutting makes it a critical part of modern machining.
Know the Top Laser Cutting Advantages and How They Can Benefit Your Company!
At Engineered Mechanical Systems, we specialize in laser cutting, and we’d be happy to discuss our services with you in further detail.
We accept projects of all sizes – and when you choose us for laser cutting, you can enjoy all of the above advantages and much more. So don’t wait. Contact us right away to learn more!