Technology for cutting and cutting materials that uses a high-power laser and is usually used on industrial production lines. A focused laser beam, usually controlled by a computer, provides a high concentration of energy and allows you to cut almost any material, regardless of their thermal properties. During the cutting process, under the influence of a laser beam, the material of the cut section melts, ignites, evaporates or is blown out by a gas jet. In this case, you can get narrow cuts with a minimum zone of thermal influence.
Laser cutting is characterized by the absence of mechanical impact on the processed material, there are minimal deformations, both temporary during the cutting process, and residual after complete cooling. As a result, laser cutting, even of easily deformable and non-rigid workpieces and parts, can be performed with a high degree of accuracy.
Due to the high power of laser radiation, high process performance is ensured in combination with high quality of the cutting surfaces. Easy and relatively simple control of laser radiation allows laser cutting along a complex contour of flat and three-dimensional parts and workpieces with a high degree of automation of the process.
For laser cutting of metals, technological installations based on solid-state, fiber lasers and gas CO2 lasers operating in both continuous and pulsed-periodic radiation modes are used. Industrial use of gas-laser cutting is increasing every year, but this process cannot completely replace traditional methods of metal separation. In comparison with many of the installations used in production, the cost of laser cutting equipment is still quite high, although recently there has been a tendency to reduce it. In this regard, the laser cutting process becomes effective only if a reasonable and reasonable choice of application is made, when the use of traditional methods is labor-intensive or even impossible.
Laser cutting is performed by through-burning sheet metals with a laser beam. This technology has a number of obvious advantages over many other cutting methods:
The absence of mechanical contact makes it possible to process brittle and deformable materials;
Hard alloy materials can be processed;
High-speed cutting of sheet steel is possible;
When producing small batches of products, it is more expedient to perform laser cutting of the material than to produce expensive molds or casting forms for this purpose;
To automatically cut the material, it is enough to prepare a drawing file in any drawing program and transfer the file to the computer of the installation, which will withstand errors in very small quantities;
Any steel of any state, aluminum and its alloys and other non-ferrous metals are suitable for laser cutting. Usually used sheets of the following metals:
- steel from 0.2 mm to 20 mm
- stainless steel from 0.2 mm to 30 mm
- aluminum alloys from 0.2 mm to 20 mm
- brass from 0.2 mm to 12 mm
- copper from 0.2 mm to 15 mm
Different types of lasers are used for different materials.
The efficiency of industrial lasers can vary from 5% to 15%. Power consumption and efficiency will depend on the output power of the laser, its operating parameters, and how well the laser is suitable for a particular job. The amount of power required for cutting depends on the type of material, its thickness, processing medium, and processing speed.
The laser and its optics (including focusing lenses) need to be cooled. Depending on the size and configuration of the installation, excess heat can be removed by a heat carrier or air blowing. Water, often used as a heat carrier, usually circulates through a heat exchanger or refrigeration unit.