Laser cutting is one of the most effective and popular alternatives to traditional metal cutting. It offers numerous impressive benefits, such as high precision and cleaner edges than those achieved with waterjet cutting or turret-punching. In fact, the edges achieved with laser cutting are so precise that no secondary finishing processes are necessary. Depending on the needs of a given application, one of several laser-cutting techniques can be used.
What is Laser Cutting?
Laser cutting is a precision manufacturing process that cuts metals as well as numerous other materials. It utilizes a high-powered laser beam to cut through materials cleanly. The laser beam is created when an external source excites electrons within an optical resonating chamber. The electrons then emit light in the form of photons that are reflected back and forth inside the optical resonator. The photons emerge as a small, highly concentrated beam of light, known as a laser beam. This beam is so powerful that everything it comes into contact with is melted, burned, or vaporized, creating precise cuts.
Fiber Optic Laser Cutting Equipment
The VyTek FiberCAB 44 laser is a highly advanced laser cutting technology used to create some of the most precise cuts possible. It features a 3,000-watt laser, capable of cutting all types of metal quickly and efficiently. The machine uses fiber optic lasers which are a type of solid-state laser that is ideal for cutting metal. The laser’s strength is increased due to the fiber optic component and it is able to target an area 100 times smaller than that of traditional laser equipment. This small spot size ensures crisp, high-quality cut edges and minimal material warping.
Fiber optic laser cutting equipment is frequently used to create components for the food and beverage industry and medical industries. It is ideally suited for materials such as:
Stainless steel, with or without film coatings
Laser Cutting Methods
There are several laser-cutting methods available. Selecting the best type for a given application depends on the material being used and the desired features of the end component. Laser cutting methods include:
Vaporization cutting: This method uses a focused laser beam to heat a material’s surface. The material is heated until it reaches boiling point, creating a keyhole in the material. The keyhole gradually increases in size. As it deepens, a vapor is generated that erodes the material’s molten walls, further enlarging the hole. Vaporization cutting is used with non-melting materials, such as wood, thermoset plastics, and carbon.
Melt and blow: In this method, high-pressure gas blows molten material out of the cutting area. First, a material is heated until it melts, at which point the molten material is blown out of the kerf by a gas jet. Since a combination of laser and gas jet is used, the amount of power required to cut through a given material is decreased. The melt-and-blow method is used to cut through metals.
Thermal stress cracking: This laser cutting method is used to cut through brittle materials, such as glass. It relies on the fact that brittle materials are sensitive to thermal stress fractures. During the process, a laser beam is focused on the material’s surface, heating it to cause thermal expansion. When the material expands, a crack is formed. The laser beam guides the position of this crack, cutting through the material.
Silicon wafter stealth dicing: During this process, microelectronic chips from silicon wafers are cut using a pulsed Nd: YAG laser. Stealth Dicing focuses the laser beam inside a workpiece where it begins to crack the wafer. Next, an expansion process is used to separate the wafer by applying external stress along the crack.
Reactive cutting: Also known as flame cutting or burning stabilized laser gas cutting, this reactive laser cutting process uses a laser beam as an ignition source. Similar to torch cutting, it effectively slices through very thick steel plates and carbon steel over 1 mm.
Metal Laser Cutting From American Industrial
American Industrial Company offers precision metal laser cutting services using one of the most advanced systems on the market. Backed by over 30 years of experience, we offer high-quality parts at competitive prices with short lead times. Our service offerings include destructive, non-destructive, and hardness testing, complete with detailed documentation and inspection reports. To get started on a metal laser cutting project with our team, request a quote today.
Laser cutting involves the use of a high-powered laser beam to cut through an object using computer numerical control, or CNC. As the laser beam glides across the material, everything in its path either is melted, burned, and vaporized away, or is blown away by a jet of gas.
This process allows for a range of benefits, including a very high-quality surface finish. Rarely is finishing work needed. Industrial laser cutters are used to cut various flat-sheet materials in order to create metal parts and components, as well as structural and piping pieces. Stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum are the most commonly cut types of metals. Laser cutting is typically preferred over plasma cutting for sheet metal applications, as it’s more precise and uses less energy.
The Vytek FiberCAB 44 Laser Cutting System
To ensure our customers receive the most cutting-edge laser cutting services available, the team at American Industrial Co. (AIC) recently added a brand-new Vytek FiberCAB 44 laser cutting system to our facility, allowing us to offer new, enhanced capabilities.
The FiberCAB 44 system makes use of the very latest in fiber-optic technology to perform precision laser cuts and etchings, allowing us to fulfill all of our customers’ metal stamping and forming needs completely in-house. One of the most advanced laser cutting systems on the market, the FiberCAB 44 can easily cut through as much as 0.25 inch of various metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and copper.
An advanced hybrid direct-drive motion control technology allows for increased cutting speed and accuracy, giving the FiberCAB 44 unparalleled precision and accuracy. And along with this higher accuracy comes reduced downtime, meaning we can offer quick, cost-efficient solutions for our clients.
The FiberCAB 44 is designed to meet the diverse needs of all customers, whether they require smaller batch runs, shorter lead times, or frequently altered part designs. The FiberCAB 44 also offers optimal energy efficiency, minimal routine maintenance, long machine life, compact and space-efficient design, and tight tolerances of ± 0.002 inch. This precision is possible thanks to the fiber-optic focus, which amplifies the strength of the laser while dramatically reducing the spot size.
How the FiberCAB 44 Reduces Lead Times
The addition of the state-of-the-art FiberCAB 44 system has allowed AIC to further boost our operational efficiency. Since fiber lasers cut sheets and thin metal much quicker than their CO2 counterparts, every step of the process can be optimized to reduce lead times and costs.
With the Vytek FiberCAB 44, we’ve streamlined our cutting process into four steps: Parts are designed in CAD software; the design is imported vectorially to Laserworx software; the software converts the vector lines of a CAD drawing into cut paths; and, finally, the fiber laser either cuts parts entirely from sheet metal or cuts parts into precut strips to prepare blanks for roll forming.
Not only do fiber lasers save time, they also reduce scraps thanks to their high-precision performance, producing clean-cut edges and eliminating additional costs such as those associated with burring. Typical AIC lead times range from two to four weeks.
Allowing for lower costs, improved efficiency, and reduced waste, our new FiberCAB 44 laser cutting system is proving highly effective for reducing project lead times — putting reliable, top-quality solutions into clients’ hands faster than ever before.
Ready to discuss how AIC can help improve your product quality and bottom line? Request a quote from our specialists today to learn more.
American Industrial Company (AIC) is pleased to announce the acquisition of a new VyTek FiberCAB 44 laser cutting system, adding an important new service to our already considerable offerings.
Our new fiber optic laser cutting machine expands our capabilities to include metal laser cuts or etchings in house – within budget and without delays – while adhering to the company standard of the highest possible Quality Assurance.
VyTek FiberCAB 44
The FiberCAB 44 is among the most advanced laser cutting systems available. The 3,000 watt fiber laser cuts and engraves various metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, brass and copper, in thicknesses of up to a quarter of an inch. It operates at high rates of speed and with pinpoint accuracy.
Our main consideration in selecting a laser cutting system was to minimize overhead without sacrificing speed or quality. The FiberCAB 44 meets both of these criteria. It is highly energy efficient (reducing operating costs), and is cooled by air as opposed to liquid, which virtually eliminates the need for maintenance. These are savings that we pass on directly to our customers.