- Lasers are essential tools that manufacturing businesses must invest in to stay competitive.
Every business needs to invest in the highest quality tools and machinery to succeed. Businesses that need to cut metal to create new products should realize this. One of the biggest mistakes that manufacturing businesses can make is neglecting to invest in lasers.
Laser-cut metal is widely used across a number of different industries and for a variety of purposes. In fact, the industry is estimated to be worth $4 billion, with the technology being used in car manufacture, ship building and furniture manufacture among others.
Since the inception of laser cutting in the 1960s by Thomas Maiman, the technology has been used to solve a multitude of different manufacturing issues, which in turn has meant that there is more room for innovation in manufacturing processes.
In this article, we will talk about how laser cutting actually works and the industries where laser cut metal has really made a difference. Finally, we will talk about the benefits of using laser cut metal over metal that has been cut using other methods. We will further discuss why manufacturing businesses should invest in it to improve their processes.
How do lasers cut metal?
The first laser prototype that could be used to cut metal was created in the 1960s, and the potential for the technology was soon recognized. Western Electric created the first laser cutting machines in 1965.
The two main types of laser that are in use today are carbon fiber and CO2. CO2 lasers are cheaper, but carbon fiber lasers are more efficient and used for precision work.
CO2 Laser cutting works because the machine creates a beam of light, which is then directed to mirrors which build up the energy in the beam. The beam of light passes through a focusing lens which concentrates the beam. The head of the laser cutter has a nozzle in it which channels the beam to melt the metal.
Carbon fiber lasers are different to CO2 lasers because rather than using mirrors, the light is channeled through optic cables to amplify the light and create the heat that is needed to use the laser as a cutting tool.
Carbon fiber lasers do not need any gases or mirror realignments, so they require less maintenance. They are also much more energy efficient because they lose a lot less heat, which means you can have a much lower powered carbon fiber laser and it will be able to cut at the same rate as a much higher-powered CO2 laser.
Why Manufacturing Businesses Are Investing More in Lasers to Cut Metal
Many business owners are starting to recognize the endless benefits of lasers. If they have to cut metal, then lasers can be some of the best investments that they make.
One of the major benefits of laser cutting metal is the fact that laser cutting usually does not cause the burring that other methods cause. Removing burrs is time consuming, and so if burring can be avoided then this is preferable.
The only exception to this is cutting aluminum, which often burrs when cut by lasers. Aluminium can also cause damage to lasers because of its highly reflective nature.
Because of this many people will not laser cut aluminium, which is why the aluminium laser cutting services from GF laser are quite unusual. They have made it their mission to develop the skills and expertise needed to accurately laser cut aluminium.
Accuracy is another major benefit to using laser cut metal, and it is generally quicker and cheaper than other methods of cutting metal.
Where laser cut metal is used
Laser cutting has been used in the manufacturing industries since the technology was first created. However, since then other industries have been able to see the benefits of precision and ease of cutting metals with lasers when compared with other methods.
Some of the places where you may have seen laser cut metal are:
- Works of art. Artists creating sculptures using metal are increasingly turning to laser cutting to get the precision finishes that they want for their pieces. It is also a good way to avoid human error if you are going to be creating something using multiple sheets of metal, or if you are creating copies of your work. Some examples of sculptures that were made using a laser cutter are Jared Tarbell’s ‘2222 Holes’, which is a square sculpture made up of geometric shapes, the 5000 pound and 17 foot tall ‘Braindrop’ by Kate Raudenbush and a gorgeous table design by architects Steven Holl and Nick Gelpi.
- Jewelry. Precision lasers are perfect for creating the tiny and intricate shapes that are needed to create pieces of jewelry. Lasers are also the only way to work with a lot of precious metals without causing them damage.
- Medicine. Laser cut metal is used in a variety of different ways in the medial field, but perhaps one of the most innovative is laser cut titanium, which is immune to corrosion and able to join with human bone. This makes it perfect for surgical applications.
Manufacturing Businesses Should Invest in Laser Tools
There are a lot of tools that manufacturing businesses need in order to thrive. Lasers can be incredibly useful if they have to cut metal. If you have a manufacturing business that needs to cut metal, then you should use them to your full advantage.