How does the laser cutting machine work

Laser cutting

Variants of the laser cutting process

The application of laser cutting differs primarily with regard to the temperature reached on the surface of the material and the type of process gas supplied. Depending on these parameters, the cut material is removed from the kerf either as a liquid, as an oxidation product or as a vapor. Depending on the physical state of the material, a distinction is made between the three variants laser beam fusion cutting, laser beam flame cutting and laser beam sublimation cutting. These are briefly explained below:

Laser beam fusion cutting

Laser beam fusion cutting is based on the use of an inert or very inert process gas. The gas prevents oxidation of the material and also ensures that the focusing optics are protected. In the kerf, the material is continuously melted and blown out as a liquid. Typical applications for this variant are the production of oxide-free cuts when machining stainless steel or the cutting of aluminum alloys.

Laser cutting

Laser flame cutting is often used to cut ferrous metals, in which the material is not melted, but heated to ignition temperature and then burned. In comparison to laser beam fusion cutting, the process is characterized by higher cutting speeds and an almost burr-free cutting edge.

Laser beam sublimation cutting

Sublimation cutting is used to cut materials without a pronounced molten state. This variant is based on the evaporation of the material, whereby the material changes directly from the solid to the vaporous state. The process is suitable for cutting wood, leather and textiles as well as for fiber-reinforced plastics.

In addition to the variants listed here, a distinction is also made between fine laser cutting for the finest contours and 2D and 3D laser processing for the production of complex two- and three-dimensional geometries.

The advantages of laser cutting

Laser cutting is characterized by a number of advantages:

  • High material utilization and economy
  • Almost all materials can be cut
  • Also suitable for prototype or small series production
  • High cutting quality
  • Clean, burr-free and post-processing-free cutting edge (depending on the material)