Myths and Advantages of Laser Cutting
As a technology that is thought to be new, there are many misconceptions about laser cutting in the metal fabrication process. With laser cutting, parts are able to be produced with efficiency, saving manufacturers and their clients money. In today’s post, our team at Arizona Iron Supply in Phoenix will discuss some of the myths as well as the advantages of laser cutting.
Common Myths About Laser Cutting
- Laser cutting is new. Actually, laser cutting was first introduced in the 1960s and became even more popular in the early 1980s as a relatively commonplace practice. Today, laser cutting is a well-established technology that is being proven effective as a cutting, drilling, and welding method for all sorts of materials, including metal, plastics, wood, composites and more.
- The machines are difficult to use. While laser cutters are sophisticated, laser cutting is a simpler process than most mechanical cutting methods. Here are some examples why:
- It’s not necessary to cut a die or stamp when working with stainless steel
- There’s no need to change tooling when you transitioning between jobs
- Lasers are programmable, so the only thing needed to cut a pattern is a drawing or CAD file.
- It’s not safe. Some common concerns are operator safety and fires. However, when laser cutters are programmed and installed properly, they are often safer than other comparable mechanical tools. Eye protection is necessary, however otherwise there is very little risk when it comes to operator safety. Fires are even more rare than accidents, because the process of laser cutting does not actually produce much heat at all.
- It doesn’t work for large-scale production. Advances in laser technology now allow manufacturers to work on a full-scale production basis. This means higher quality products at lower prices.
Advantages of Laser Cutting
- Precision. When extremely high accuracy and precision are needed, laser cutters are an ideal option. Laser cutting is often used in the aerospace industry because of tight tolerances.
- Ease of use. Modern machines allow for quick setup and high repeatability.
- Versatility and flexibility. Cuts can be simple or extremely intricate, making lasers highly versatile. Laser cutters can also handle jobs with a high degree of complexity. Laser cutters are also able to handle different forms of materials at once—plastics, metals, wood, rubber, and more.
- Greater energy efficiency. While the laser used to cut materials requires a large amount of energy, laser cutters do not have any other moving parts, which makes them more energy efficient than comparable tools.
A laser cutter can be a valuable addition for shops, however there are limitations to laser cutting—at Arizona Iron Supply in Phoenix, we offer plasma cutting services. Stay tuned for our next blog post to learn about the differences between plasma and laser cutting.