Laser Cutting Edges like a Pro: What is Needed?
When it comes to metal fabrication, lasers are a widely accepted tool. This is because they offer flawless cutting at an extraordinary pace and can handle materials just right. No matter how good the laser cutting tool is, the production cycle also depends on factors like –The time taken for operators to load and unload sheets, the duration up to which the machine remains idle…etc. This was about the production cycle of metal sheets. But what about their edges and overall quality once the cutting is done?
Whenever a certain part is cut with laser machine, it needs to have a smooth finishing and edge. The perspective about a “smooth edge” is something that depends on who is analyzing the laser cut part. To a machinist, it might not be up to the mark. And to a welder, it might seem like a well-finished and superior quality edge. Also, the application of the laser cut part decides whether the cutting job was undertaken properly or not. Amada laser spare parts are often preferred by manufacturers and machinists whenever they want to do a first-rate deburring job. There are other factors that must be kept in mind if you want to cut edges of a metal part like a professional. Let’s take a look as to what are they:
1. Good quality nozzles
If you want your laser machine to be able to cut thick materials, you need coaxial flow nozzles. These nozzles cut steel with oxygen and while the materials are being cut, the flow of the gas is very low. Approximately — 0.5 to 2.0 cubic feet per minute. The gas flowing from these nozzles is smooth and consistent providing a superior edge quality in steel which is 0.5 to 1.25 in thickness. As the technology advanced, nitrogen assisted cutting also came into existence due to its potential to cut thin material at a high speed.
The only drawback of nitrogen gas is that it needs a nozzle having a bigger diameter with high-pressure when it comes to cutting thick materials at higher speed. In order to handle this problem and create a coaxial flow of gas, nozzles of different angles were created and they rendered a smooth edge.
2. Laser grade materials
Before few years, high-powered lasers enabled the cutting of thick materials. But they always lacked a smooth edge which is very much needed. The steel manufacturers observed this and started producing high quality and laser friendly materials. These days, you can find mini-scale material for processing 0.5 inch and a thicker steel.
3. Controlled cutting process
In order to produce dross-free parts with a smooth edge, it is important to have a program that makes processing more streamlined and reliable. Initially, after the materials were cut, they needed supervision from operators who would remove the bits of dross that lingered on the corners. Laser cutting machine manufacturers like Mitsubishi observed this and made controllers run program without any prompt or deburring needed from the operator. These automated controllers calculate the amount of frequency and power needed to cut the material and monitor the movement of machines in real time.
4. Modernized lasers and beam parameters
Several OEMs work towards enhancing the quality of laser beams. These days, solid-state lasers like fiber laser which work on direct-diode technology are being are being adopted by the laser cutting professionals. Fiber lasers ask for low maintenance and have a better performance potential as compared to Co2 lasers. However, it has been observed that as the thickness of material increases, the quality of edge decreases. To keep the edge quality intact, an amalgamation of controllers, better beams and nozzles can be used.
Laser technology is quite dynamic. So you can expect systems to grow and introduce unique processes. Until then, you know what is needed to obtain excellent edge for your materials. All the best!