Laser Cutting Machine: A Comprehensive Guide

I. Introduction

Laser-cutting Technology has become an advanced processing method in recent years. A laser cutter utilizes a high-power laser beam to cut multiple materials and plays an essential role in metal processing, automation fabrication, aerospace, and electronics.

They have many edges over traditional cutting methods. For example, they allow for high accuracy and high repetition. Laser-cutting machines can reach micro-level accuracy and consistency, greatly improving product quality.

Possessing high flexibility, laser cutters can be adjusted flexibly so as to be applied widely. At the same time, the machine also allows for the accurate cutting of intricate patterns, delivering more possibilities for products.

To help manufacturing practitioners and individual hobbyists to understand laser cutting technology, master the key information for laser cutting machines, I write this comprehensive article of laser cutting machines for you .

The guide mainly pivots the definition, working principles, types, applications, brands and industry trends to explain comprehensively so that the article can serve as an authoritative, practical reference. I hope you can understand the article better after reading my article so as to improve enterprise competition.

II. What is a Laser Cutting Machine?

Definition of a laser cutting machine

A laser cutting machine is a kind of machine that utilizes high-power laser beams to cut multiple materials. They focus the laser onto the surface of the workpiece and utilize the high temperature to melt or evaporate the material. In this way, the cutting was finished accurately.

Here is a video for you to enjoy so as to have a deeper understanding.

Explanation of the laser cutting process

The cutting processes are as follows:

Step 1: The laser generator generates high-power laser beams which usually are infrared or ultraviolet.

Step 2: The laser beams which are focused into an extremely fine ray of light by an optical system will shoot accurately on the surface of the workpiece.

Step 3: The workpiece will be moved under the control of the CNC control system so that the laser beam can move along the designed paths as a way to finish the cutting.

Step 4: Assist gases will be sprayed to blow off the melt so as to ensure accuracy.

Key components of a laser cutting machine

The key components of a laser cutting machine will be introduced in the following:

12 kw lasers

As the most essential part and the heart of a laser cutting macine, the laser is the core power source of high-power laser beams. Commonly, there are CO2 lasers and fiber lasers mostly applied in manufacturing. Though both have pros and cons, What merits attention is that fibre lasers perform better in terms of accuracy, efficiency, cutting quality, lifespan and maintenance demands.

An optical system incorporates reflective mirrors, focus lenses and other parts in order to focus laser beams onto the surface of the workpiece. The performance of the optical system directly influences the cutting accuracy and efficiency.

The CNC control system is the main operating system which controls the movement of X, Y, and Z-axes. At the same time, it can also adjust the output power of laser cutters so as to ensue the cutting stability. You should notice that an advanced CNC control system improves the performance and stability of the machine.

cutting head

The cutting head, as the core component of a laser cutting machine consists of a nozzle, focus lenses and a focus tracking system. The cutting head will move according to the designed paths, and its height will be adjusted according to different materials, thicknesses and cutting methods. Premium cutting heads ensure high speed and accuracy cutting.

servo motor

The servo motor as the key driving part of a laser cutting machine controls the movements of mechanical components. High-quality servo motors can guarantee cutting precision, positioning speed and repeated positioning accuracy.

Generally, the core components of a laser cutting machine include the laser, optical system, CNC control system, cutting head and servo motor.

These machine tools’ precise coordination jointly decides the performance and cutting quality. Premium core components play an essential role in improving the laser cutting machine’s quality and accuracy.

III. Mainstream Types of Laser Cutting Machines

CO2 laser cutting machines

CO2 laser cutting machines use a mixture of carbide gases as the laser source. This kind of gas is activated by electricity so to generate laser beams. The wavelengths of the CO2 laser cutting machine are 10.6 microns, which belongs to the far-infrared spectral range.

These kinds of machines are wildly used in non-metal processing, such as wood, plastic, leather and paper, thanks to their low maintenance costs and high benefits.

However, there also remain difficulties when they cut some materials. Because metals may cause spark and ignition that damages the machine.

Fiber laser cutting machines

Fiber laser cutting machines utilize a special fiber laser to enlarge and transfer laser beams. The laser has a wavelength of 1.064 microns, which belongs to the near-infrared spectroscopy range. Fiber laser cutters are suitable for metal cutting, even for some reflective metals that are hard to process for CO2 laser cutting machines.

By virtue of their high efficiency, low energy consumption and maintenance costs, they boast higher cutting speed and accuracy, especially for thick metal sheets. In addition, laser cutting machines enjoying high-quality laser beams allow for preciser cutting and engraving.

Comparison of the two laser cutting machine types

SpecialtyCO2 laser cutting machineFiber laser cutting machine
Laser sourcemixture of carbide gasesfiber laser
wavelength10.6 microns(far-infrared spectral)1.06 micron(near-infrared spectral)
Applicablenon-metals(wood, plastic, leather) and thin non-metalsa mixture of carbide gases
Costrelatively lowrelatively high
Maintenancesimplelow costs
Energy consumptionhigherlower
Cutting speedmediumfast
AccuracymediumHigh
Applicable scenarionon-metals cutting and small batches of productionmetal cutting and industrial production
Laser beam qualitymediumhigh, for precise cutting and engraving

IV. Laser Cutting Process Optimization

Laser cutting process optimization is an important step to ensure high-quality cutting. Accurate control of cutting parameters can reduce material consumption and improve the comprehensive quality of the products. Here are a few key optimization steps:

Selecting the appropriate cutting parameters

Selecting the appropriate cutting parameters is one of the most preliminary steps in the cutting process. Cutting parameters incorporate laser power, cutting speed, focus point, and pass numbers. The higher the laser power, the faster the cutting speed. However, overly high power may burn or melt the material.

Therefore, laser power and cutting speed should be adjusted based on the thickness and type of the material so as to optimize the cutting.

Adjusting laser power, speed, and focus

Laser power and cutting speed should be adjusted based on the features and thickness of the materials. For example, cutting of relatively thick materials entails higher laser power and lower speed. Focus adjustment is with regard to the size and position of a laser focus point. Appropriate focus points ensure the minimum zone of focused laser power so to improve cutting efficiency and accuracy.

Controlling gas flow and pressure

While cutting, assist gas(such as oxygen, nitrogen and air) is used to blow the melt material produced in the cutting and to cool the working area and reduce oxidization. Gas flow and pressure must adjusted based on the material’s type and thickness. For example, nitrogen is usually used to cut stainless steel in order to prevent the surface from oxidization.

Minimizing heat-affected zone and distortion

A heat-affected zone(HAZ) is an area with a changed microstructure as a result of heat effect. Over-large heat-affected zones may affect the quality of materials. Optimized laser power and cutting speed can reduce HAZ so as to reduce heat deformation and concentrate stress.

In addition, proper cooling treatment can also help reduce heat-affected zones and avoid deformation.

Following the tips and steps above to optimize and adjust your machine, it’s absolutely that the accuracy and efficiency of the laser cutting can be improved and the processed materials’ quality and performance will be ensured.

V. Applications of Laser Cutting Machines

laser cutting machine

As a processing machine tool of high accuracy and efficiency, the laser cutter is a shiny star in many sectors. I would like to give you a thorough introduction to its glamorous achievements.

Metal fabrication

If you have read the above article, you certainly know that these magical processing machines are mostly used in metal processing, such as steel, aluminium and copper. High-accuracy cutting edges and smooth surfaces produced by laser cutters have significantly improved the product’s quality and productivity.

What’s more, high automation also saves many costs for manual operation and time.

Automotive industry

Actually, a laser cutter is also an efficient assistant in the automotive industry. The machine is used to cut the auto parts, such as the vehicle doors, windows and chassis. High efficiency and accuracy of which they are proud, have not only improved component precision but boosted productivity.

Laser cutters also possess other advantages in the industry. They can adapt to novel designs and materials while smoothing automotive fabrication.

Aerospace and defense

In high-end manufacturing, such as aerospace and defence, the indomitable fighter also establishes a foothold. The machine is used to cut and process high-performance materials, such as titanium alloys, nickel alloys, and composite materials which are mainly used to make aerospace components, motors and other pivotal parts.

By virtue of the contactless processing method provided by the laser cutting machine, deformation and wear are minimized. So they can meet the high requirements and standards to the industry.

Electronics and electrical engineering

In electronics and electrical engineering, the laser cutting machine allows for the precise cutting of circuit boards, electronic components and other tiny parts. Their capability of high-accuracy enables them to handle intricate patterns, which makes the laser cutting machine an integral of electronics and electrical engineering.

In addition, small heat-affected zones ensure the steady performance of electronic components without being affected.

Architectural and interior design

In relatively small industries, such as architectural and interior design, the machine plays a role. They can cut metal sheets, glass and other decor materials. Precise replication of intricate patterns in detail boosts designers to achieve special design ideas. They are also popular in rapid construction and custom design thanks to their high efficiency and accuracy.

Overall, widely and deeply applied in multiple industries, the laser-cutting machine serves as an indispensable part of modern industry due to its high accuracy, efficiency and flexibility. As technology develops, laser cutting machines will applied wider and bring many sectors with revolutionary changes.

VI.Comparing Laser Cutting Machine Brands

Leading manufacturers in the market

Headquartered in Germany and as one of the leading manufacturers globally, TRUMPF enjoys a glamorous history and a good reputation for its innovative technology and high-performance devices. The company provides various solutions for laser cutting, including 2D and 3D laser cutting machines, which are applicable to all kinds of materials and thicknesses.

Besides, TRUMPF’s laser cutting machines featuring high precision, speed and reliability are widely applied in metal processing, automation fabrication and aerospace.

Bystronic, a renowned Switzerland manufacturer of laser cutting machines, famous for high-performance laser cutting equipment and automation solutions. Bystronic’s laser cutting machines are suitable for large batches of production with many types of machines including fiber laser cutting machine and tube laser cutting machine.

Bystronic’s machines are favoured by the market on the strength of their high accuracy, simple operation and low maintenance costs.

ADH Machine Tool, a famous manufacturing enterprise in China, carves out a niche in the international market by virtue of cost-effective solutions and rapid market response.

As one of the top 5 manufacturers in China, it provides several international cooperators with various fiber laser cutting machines, including Single Table Fiber Laser Cutting Machine, Double Table Fiber Laser Cutting Machine and Dual-use Fiber Laser Cutting Machine.

Take the advantages of price competitiveness, high-quality manufacturing and flexible customer service, ADH is well-received by customers and cooperators.

Pros and cons of different brands

BrandProsCons
TRUMPFadvanced technology
high efficiency and accuracy
well-known brand
higher costs
Bystronicsteady operation
high automation
suitable for large batches of production
relatively large initial investments
ADH Machine ToolHigh cost-effectiveness
simple operation and low maintenance costs
perfected after-sale service
technical accumulation is slightly inferior
compared to European brands

Customer reviews and industry reputation

  • TRUMPF: it enjoys an extremely high reputation globally. Their customers usually praise its reliability and the machine’s good performance.
  • Bystronic: the company receives positive reviews for the machine’s high efficiency and stable operation, especially for those applied in highly automated environments.
  • ADH Machine Tool: Popular in Asian and domestic markets, ADH wins claims from customers with high cost-effectiveness and active and rapid demand responses. Its machines are a wise choice for medium and small size enterprises.

VII.Conclusion

In the article, a comprehensive guide is provided for you as a reference to learn what a laser cutting machine is, where a laser cutting machine is applied, and what to consider when choosing the most suitable one. I hope this article might help you.

By the way, if you are considering buying laser cutting machines, ADH, as one of the leaders in China in the industry, is an intelligent choice. Before deciding to buy the products, you are welcome to view the product page to learn more or get a product page to learn more or get quote.



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