If you’re in the manufacturing, construction design industry – or you have a unique hobby – then you may be no stranger to laser cutting. However, if you’re just starting out as a new business or you’re considering changing directions away from traditional metal cutting techniques, then you may be eager to learn more about this practice.
Whether you want to cut metals, timbers or plastics, using a high-powered laser beam can be an excellent choice. Whilst the term used is ‘cutting’, the technique itself actually involves intense energy from the cutting head vaporising the material you want to cut! Incredibly precise, it’s a great choice for many applications – but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you. We’ve put together a list of advantages and disadvantages to ensure you make an informed decision.3
- Accuracy:If you’re looking for pin-point accuracy, then you can’t go past laser cutting. Offering the most precise technology on the market, it is capable of marking intricate drawings as little as +/- 0.1mm!
- Variety: Capable of cutting a huge range of common materials, it’s very likely that laser cutting will be the perfect choice for your business. Metals, plastics and timbers are just some of the materials that can be cut with a clean, burr free edge, but if you’re working with something more unique, reach out to your local cutting team – it’s likely they’ve tried their hands at everything.
- Single Tool: If you’re tired of changing tools each time you need to cut a different sized material or create a different shaped hole, then this offers an excellent solution. The same high energy beam is used to perform each task – increasing turnaround time!
- No Force Required: As laser cutting utilises a beam of energy rather than a physical blade, there is no force applied to the material at any stage! This avoids excess pressure being placed on the sheet, which can often lead to irreparable damage and scratches.
- Fast Turnaround: If you need your sheet material cut yesterday, then this is the ideal choice. Capable of travelling at almost 170 meters per second, your project will be finished as soon as possible.
- Energy Usage:As these machines use high-intensity beams of energy, their energy consumption usage can be quite high – the costs of which may be passed on to the customer. The amount of energy used depends on the material that is being cut, as well as the quality of the machine itself.
- Limited Materials:Not all materials can be cut! Check with your industry professionals, as different businesses offer different services. However, as a general rule: PVC releases toxic chemicals; glass, ceramics and porcelain fracture along the cut edge; gold and silver are too reflective; fabrics are too floppy; and polyurethane foam singes and tapers along the edge.
With a wide number of benefits associated with laser cutting, it’s often the best choice for the majority of businesses. Consider the material you’re working with, your time frame and your budget when making your final decision – and if you’re still unsure, consider speaking with an experienced team in your area for their expert opinions.