The term Industry 4.0 is no longer unfamiliar to us. The laser cutting machine can reproduce the graphics on the computer to your sheets in a short time. So, do you know about laser cutting equipment? This article will walk you into the world of laser cutting.
What is laser cutting machine?
The so-called laser cutting is the energy released when the laser beam is irradiated on the surface of the workpiece to melt and evaporate it to achieve the purpose of cutting and engraving. It uses a high-power and high-density laser beam to scan the material’s surface and can heat it to thousands or even tens of thousands of degrees Celsius in a very short time. Laser cutting uses invisible beams to replace traditional mechanical knives. The speed is fast, and the incision is smooth. Generally, post-processing is not required. It has high precision and fast cutting and is not limited to cutting patterns. Automatic typesetting saves material, smooth incision, low processing cost, and will gradually improve or replace traditional cutting process equipment.
The core components of laser cutting machine
In today’s processing industry, the cutting machine has become familiar which is widely used. But who knows the core components of a laser cutting machine? Here is the answer.
1. Laser generator: It is not only the core of laser cutting machine, but also the heart of it. Laser generator produces laser light source mainly used for photoelectric conversion.
2. Machine host: It is the part of the laser cutter to achieve the mechanical movement of X, Y and Z-axis, and is used to position the workpiece to be cut and move it correctly and accurately according to the control program.
3. Cutting head: The cutting head mainly includes a cavity, focusing lens, capacitive sensor, auxiliary gas nozzle and other parts. The driving device composed of servo motor, screw rod or gear, and other transmission parts is used to drive the cutting head to move along the Z-axis direction according to the program.
4. Water cooler: The cooling water takes away the excess heat to keep the normal operation of the laser generator. It also cools the machine tool’s external light path reflector and focusing lens to ensure stable beam transmission quality and effectively prevent the lens from deformation or cracking due to excessive temperature.
5. Numerical control system: It controls the movement of the X, Y and Z-axis of the machine tool, and also the output power of the laser.
6. Motor: The performance of the motors directly affect the processing effect and production efficiency of the product. At present, the commonly used motors include stepping motor and servo motor. According to the industry type and product type of the processing object, suitable motors are configured.
7. Gas: It mainly includes working medium gas and auxiliary gas of laser cutting machine, which is used to supplement the industrial gas of laser vibration and supply auxiliary gas for cutting head.
In addition to the above, there are many components, such as air compressor, air cooling dryer, filter, exhaust dust removal machine, slag discharge machine, etc.
Types of laser cutting machine
The laser cutting machine can be divided into three types: CO2 laser cutting machine, YAG laser cutting machine, and fiber laser cutting machine. They replace human labor to better complete the cutting task. The three types of laser cutting machine have their own characteristics.
1. CO2 Laser Cutter
CO2 laser cutting machine adopts the laser cutting machine of carbon dioxide laser, which belongs to the molecular gas laser. The working substance is carbon dioxide gas, and the auxiliary gas is nitrogen gas, xenon gas, etc. Its laser wavelength is 10.6 microns. It has good stability and can be used as a laser with high power output.
CO2 laser cutting machine is mainly used to cut non-metallic materials, such as fabrics, jeans we wear, leather, plastic, acrylic, etc. If the power is relatively high, the CO2 laser cutting machine can also cut metal, but the accuracy is generally not too high and cannot cut too thick.
2. YAG Laser Cutter
The YAG laser cutting machine uses a focused high-power density laser beam to irradiate the workpiece so that the irradiated material rapidly melts, vaporizes, ablates or reaches the ignition point. The workpiece is cut. Laser cutting is one of the thermal cutting methods.
YAG laser cutting machine is widely used in advertising sign production, chassis cabinets, textile machinery, food mechanization, saw blades, electrical parts, glasses production and other industries.
Fiber laser is a new type of fiber laser developed in the world. It outputs a laser beam with high energy density and gathers it on the surface of the workpiece so that the area irradiated by the ultra-fine focus spot on it is instantly melted and vaporized. The spot is moved by the numerical control mechanical system. Automatic cutting is achieved by irradiating the position. Compared with bulky gas lasers and solid-state lasers, it has apparent advantages, and has gradually developed into an essential candidate in the fields of high-precision laser processing, lidar systems, space technology, and laser medicine.
Fiber laser cutting machine is mainly used in sheet metal processing, aviation, aerospace, electronics, electrical appliances, subway accessories, automobiles, food machinery, textile machinery, construction machinery, ships, metallurgical equipment, elevators, household appliances, craft gifts, decoration, advertising, kitchenware processing and other manufacturing and processing industries.
Comparison between laser cutter and traditional cutter
Among the many cutting equipment, laser cutting is just one of them. The following mainly takes the water cutter and the plasma cutter as an example to compare with the laser cutting machine. Let’s take a look at what characteristics they have.
Advantages of laser cutting:
1. Good cutting quality. It can bring you narrow incision and smooth cutting surface. Generally, the cutting seam can be welded without further processing.
2. Fast cutting speed. For example, with 3kW fiber laser power, the cutting speed of 8mm thick carbon steel is 2.3m/min; The cutting speed of 4mm thick stainless steel is 6m/min. Go to Senfeng website and learn more, https://www.sfcnclaser.com
3. Clean, safe and pollution-free. The working environment of operators is greatly improved.
Disadvantages of laser cutting:
1. In fact, laser can cut most materials, but it is still insufficient compared with water cutting, such as reflective materials, marble and so on.
2. The roughness of the cut surface is not as good as that of water cutting. The thicker the material, the more obvious it is.
3. The cost of laser cutting equipment is high and the one-time investment is large.
Water jet technology, also known as water jet and water cutting technology, is a real cold cutting. It pressurizes ordinary water through a pressure system to generate high-energy water flow, and then passes through a very fine sand pipe nozzle to jet cutting at a speed of nearly one kilometer per second.
It is also the ideal cutting tool in the field of high-risk operations, which can be used in public blasting, waste ammunition destruction, armed police breaking barriers, oil industry, natural gas pipelines, etc.
Advantages of water cutting:
1. It can cut any material (including reflective materials, composite materials, sensitive materials, etc. that cannot or is difficult to cut by laser, such as stones, alloys, etc.)
2. The cutting thickness can be very thick. Like 100mm, or even thicker material.
3. There is no thermal deformation during the cutting process.
4. It will not change the texture of the material around the cutting seam.
Disadvantages of water cutting:
The speed is quite slow so that it is not suitable for mass production.
Plasma cutting machine is a kind of thermal cutting equipment. The main working principle is to partially melt the metal to be cut, and at the same time use high-speed airflow to blow away the melted metal. The plasma cutting machine can cut various metal materials such as stainless steel, iron, aluminum, copper, etc., and is generally used to construct, install, and maintain machinery and metal structures.
Advantages of plasma cutting:
1. Able to cut thick plates, and the price is low.
Disadvantages of plasma cutting:
2. The surface of the cut object is rough, and the cutting gap is large, about 3mm.
3. The most important part of the plasma is the power supply. In fact, corresponding to the laser of the laser cutting machine, plasma’s power consumption is very large.
How to choose a CNC laser cutting machine?
How can you successfully complete the task when the boss asks you to buy a laser cutting machine? The following suggestions can give you a good idea:
1. Determine the model, format and quantity of the equipment to be purchased according to your company’s production scope, processing materials and cutting thickness.
2. Laser power. For example, most factories are cutting metal sheets below 6mm, so there is no need to buy a high-power laser cutting machine. A 1kW fiber laser cutting machine can meet the production needs.
3. Price. Machine with different power and different spare parts has different prices. But ultimately, it depends on your company’s budget.
4. On-site proofing. Professionals perform on-site simulation solutions or provide solutions, and they can also take their own materials to the manufacturer for proofing. And pay attention to the following points: 1) The cutting seam is thin; 2) The cutting surface is smooth; 3) The deformation of the material.
5. After-sales service. Any piece of equipment will be damaged to varying degrees during use, so in terms of maintenance after damage, whether the maintenance is timely and the level of charges have become issues that need to be considered. Therefore, when purchasing, it is necessary to understand the after-sales service of the company through various channels.
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