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Metal Laser Cutting Machine: The Basic Guide

What is a metal laser cutter?

The metal laser cutting machine is a laser cutting machine specially designed to cut and process metal materials.

What is a metal laser cutter

Types of metal laser cutting machines

Currently mainstreamed types in the market are:

  • CO2laser cutting machine
  • Fiber laser cutting machine
  • YAG laser cutting machine

The CO2 laser cutting machine has a strong cutting capacity and a wide range, which is mainstream laser cutting equipment in the market ;

Fiber laser cutting machine is a new technology in recent years, coupled with relatively low technical requirements, which has gradual popularity of metal laser cutting machine equipment.

Working principle of metal laser cutting machine

The heat input to the beam (converted by light energy) far exceeds the portion reflected, conducted, or diffused by the material, which is quickly heated to vaporization temperature and evaporated to form a hole.

As the beam moves relatively linearly with the material, the holes are continuously formed with a slit of very narrow width (e.g., about 0.1 mm).

Thermal effects of cutting edge are little, without workpiece deformation.

During the cutting process, an appropriate auxiliary gas for the material to be cut is added.

Steel cutting needs to use oxygen as an auxiliary gas and molten metal to produce an exothermic chemical reaction to oxidize the material, while helping to blow away the slag within the cutting edge.

Compressed air is used to cut plastics such as polypropylene, and inert gases are used to cut flammable materials such as cotton and paper.

The auxiliary gas entering the nozzle also cools the focusing lens, preventing soot from entering the lens holder and contaminating the lens to cause overheating.

Most organic and inorganic materials can be cut with a laser.

In the metalworking industry, where industrial manufacturing plays a major role, many metal materials, regardless of their hardness, can be cut without deformation (industrial steel thicknesses approaching 20 mm can now be cut with state-of-the-art metal laser cutters).

Of course, for highly reflective materials such as gold, silver, copper and aluminum alloys, which are also good conductors of heat, laser cutting is difficult or even impossible (Some hard cutting materials can be cut with a pulsed-wave laser beam, which instantly and dramatically increases the material’s absorption coefficient of the beam due to the extremely high peak power of the pulsed wave.).

Applications

It is used in sheet metal processing, aviation, aerospace, electronics, electrical appliances, subway accessories, automobiles, machinery, precision accessories, ships, metallurgical equipment, elevators, household appliances, gifts, tool processing, decoration, advertising, metal processing and other manufacturing and processing industries.

It is mainly used for cutting carbon steel, silicon steel, stainless steel, aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, galvanized sheet, pickled sheet, aluminized zinc sheet, copper and other metal materials.

Technical parameters

Cutting widths vary and can be customized according to requirements.

Cutting (backlash) speed: 0〜30000mm/min

Motion systems: offline motion control system

Work platforms: Blade thickened platform

Laser energy regulation: 0-100% Laser energy following regulation

Repeat positioning accuracy: ≤0.1mm

Power supply: 220V±5% 50Hz

Support graphics formats: AI, BMP, PLT, DXF, DST, etc.

Standard: 550W extractor, mini pressurized air compressor

Optional: high-pressure blowing solenoid valve, control board and water cooling

Characteristic

High cutting accuracy and stability

Using a precision ball screw drive mechanism and optimized CNC system control can meet the precision parts processing, with stable dynamic performance and long working time.

High quality of cutting section

It adopts the mechanical follow-up cutting head system, the cutting head is moved with the plate height, and the position of the cutting point always remains unchanged, so that the slit is flat and smooth, and the cross-section does not need post-processing, which is suitable for flat or curved plate cutting.

It has large cutting width, which adapts to cut more materials and has a wide range of applications

It can cut metal plates up to 2500mm×1250mm in width.

The materials that can be processed are: plain carbon steel, stainless steel, alloy steel, aluminum plate, copper plate, titanium plate and so on.

High-cost performance

For thin plate cutting, it can replace the CO2 laser cutting machine, CNC punching machine and shearing machine, etc., its cost is equivalent to 1/4 of the CO2 laser cutting machine, 1/2 of the CNC punching machine.

Low cost of use

A YAG solid-state laser is used, main consumables are electrical energy, cooling water, auxiliary gas and laser light, the average cost is about $28 per hour.

Core technology

●The laser light path system is stable, after thousands of vibration experiments, the laser light path system is stable and unchanged;

●Mechanical follow-up cutting head, pure mechanical transmission, stable anti-interference.

Metal laser cutting machine manufacturers

Top 15 Metal Laser Cutting Machine Manufacturers

Price of metal laser cutting machine

The price of a metal laser cutting machine depends on many factors, the type, size and thickness of the metal to be cut determines the working table of the selected machine, laser source, motor power, etc., and therefore the price will vary.

Ask the manufacturer for the exact price, which is currently around $30,000 for a 1000W laser cutting machine.

Metal laser cutting machine vs. CNC plasma cutting machine

Metal laser cutting machine

Metal laser cutting machine is to use high power density laser beam scanning over the surface of the material, the material will be heated to thousands or tens thousands of degrees in a short time to make the material melt or gasify, and then blow away the melting or gasification of material from the cutting slit with high-pressure gas, to achieve the purpose of cutting material.

Laser cutting, as it uses an invisible light beam instead of the traditional mechanical knife, the mechanical part of the laser head has no contact with the work, which will not cause scratches to the work surface.

Laser cutting is fast, with a smooth and even incision, which does not need subsequent processing in general.

The cutting heat affected zone is small, the plate deformation is small, and the slit is narrow (0.1mm~0.3mm);

There is no mechanical stresses in the incision and no shear burrs.

It has high machining accuracy, good repeatability and no damage to the material surface.

CNC programming, can process any plan and be a large width of the whole board cutting, without opening the die, economical and time-saving.

CNC plasma cutting machine

CNC plasma cutting machine is a kind of thermal cutting equipment.

Its working principle is to use the heat of high-temperature plasma arc to locally melt the metal at the incision of the workpiece, and use the momentum of the high-speed plasma to remove the molten metal to form an incision.

With the development of plasma cutting, the available working gas has a significant impact on the cutting characteristics, cutting quality and speed of the plasma arc.

Commonly used plasma arc working gases are argon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, air, water vapor and some gas mixtures.

Plasma cutting machines are widely used in automobiles, locomotives, pressure vessels, chemical machinery, nuclear industry, general machinery, engineering machinery, steel structure and other industries.

In terms of cutting accuracy, the plasma is about 1mm, while the laser can reach within 0.2mm.

In the cutting efficiency, laser is the superposition of speed and effect, and the cutting of 1mm plates can reach 26 meters per minute.

It can be said that the plasma is only rough processing, which also need to be polished for secondary processing with cumbersome work, while the laser cutting machine is fine processing, which is completed at one time.

The biggest advantages of metal laser cutting machine

advantages of metal laser cutting machine

In general, it is recommended to use a CO2 laser cutting machine for cutting carbon steel plates up to 20mm, stainless steel plates up to 10mm, acrylic, wood and other non-metallic materials.

Laser cutting machines have no cutting power and no deformation in processing.

No tool wear, good material adaptability.

Both simple and complex parts can be cut with laser precision in a single step.

It has a narrow slit, good cutting quality, high degree of automation, easy to operate, low labor intensity, and no pollution.

It can achieve cutting automatic nesting, nesting, improving the utilization of materials, which has a low cost of production and good economic efficiency.

Laser cutting machine selection has many factors to consider, in addition to the maximum size of the workpiece to be processed, the material, the maximum thickness to be cut and the size of the raw material width, it more needs to consider the future direction of development, such as the technical adaptation of the products made after the maximum size of the workpiece to be processed, the steel market to provide the width of the material for their own products which are the most economical, loading and unloading time and so on.

Laser cutting machines are a technological revolution in sheet metal processing, the “processing center” in sheet metal processing.

Laser cutting machine has high flexibility, fast cutting speed, high production efficiency and short product cycle, which win a wide range of markets for customers.

The effective life of the technology is long, foreign sheet metal with more than 2 mm thickness is mostly used in laser cutting machine, many foreign experts agreed that the next 30-40 years is the golden age of laser processing technology development.

Development prospect

Market demand

The development of China’s laser industry, although it is a preliminary development, has completed a leap forward in development under the leadership of international science and technology, which has a high stage of prominence compared to the same quality.

In terms of laser cutting machines, the market demand is as high as ten million, adding new life to the vast market.

Since the birth and application of the first laser equipment in the 1960s, several experts in China have made efforts in the laser industry and achieved a tiny margin of international standards.

At the same time, in the development of the laser industry, the laser complete sets of industrial equipment also entered the production of the market, getting rid of the long-term dependence on foreign situations, to solve the embarrassing situation of the domestic laser industry.

The rapid development of the domestic economy has become a high-industry backbone of the laser market, which can reach an annual growth rate of more than 20%, becoming a new starting point for the global laser market.

According to expert forecasts, the domestic laser market is still in a stage of rapid growth, which can be doubled in the future, to maximize the expansion of the laser cutting equipment market, to fill the domestic blank.

It will be the domestic high-end laser equipment to get rid of the trapped state, which becomes the international backbone.

Breakthrough technology

Since all machines and equipment are not perfect, metal laser cutting machines also suffer from certain shortcomings.

If the metal laser cutting machine wants to further develop, it must break through the following technology.

  1. It improves the construction of the mechanical structure of the metal laser cutting machine, which is mainly reflected in the beam and machine structure.

If a metal laser cutting machine wants a better development, it must break through the lightness and flexibility of the metal laser cutting machine beam as well as the high rigidity and high stability of the machine structure.

This will further improve the cutting accuracy of the metal laser cutting machine and the use of flexibility.

  1. It improves the metal laser cutting machine’s CNC technology.

A perfect modern machine needs to have a high-quality control system.

High-quality control system can make operation more simple, improve efficiency and reduce the error due to manual operation.

  1. It can improve the metal laser cutting machine high power laser beam transmission focusing technology.

The quality of the beam is the key to the cutting quality of the metal laser cutting machine.

Good focusing technology can make the object to be processed more beautiful, so as to achieve the effect you want.

  1. It improves the proprietary technology of metal laser cutting machines.

These include edge monitoring, capacitance height tracking, cutting monitoring, and penetration detection.

  1. It improves the metal laser cutting machine’s special CAD/CAM software system.

In this way, it can better cooperate with the conversion of laser cutting graphics, making it simple and smooth to write complex part programs, and it is also very convenient to edit and modify.

Therefore, it is very important to develop and design a special CAD/CAM software system.

  1. It improves the high-power metal laser cutting machine head design, only continuous innovation will not be eliminated by the market.
  2. It improves the metal laser cutting process research, especially for curved surface cutting, titanium alloy material cutting and thick plate cutting process of research etc.

Metal laser cutting is currently one of the best processing equipment, I believe that in the near future our metal laser cutting machine will be further perfected. So as to meet the needs of our market.

Notes

  1. Observe the safety operation procedures of the general cutting machine.

It should strictly in accordance with the laser start-up procedures to start the laser, dimming and test machine.

  1. Operators must be trained to be familiar with cutting software, equipment structure, performance, and knowledge of operating systems.
  2. Wear labor protection equipment according to regulations, and wear protective glasses that meet the regulations near the laser beam.
  3. Do not process material before it is clear whether it can be irradiated or cut with a laser to avoid the potential danger of smoke and vapor.
  4. When the equipment is started, the operator shall not leave the post or be taken care of without authorization.

If it is necessary to leave, the operator should stop the machine or cut off the power switch.

  1. Keep the fire extinguisher within easy reach;

Turn off the laser or shutter when not working;

Do not place paper, cloth, or other flammable materials near the unprotected laser beam.

  1. When an abnormality is found during processing, the machine should be shut down immediately, and the fault should be eliminated or reported to the supervisor.
  2. It should keep the laser, laser head, bed and surrounding area neat, orderly and free of oil, workpieces, sheet metal and waste materials stacked according to regulations.
  3. When using gas cylinders, it should avoid crushing the welding wires to avoid leakage accidents.

The use and transportation of gas cylinders shall comply with gas cylinder supervision regulations.

It is forbidden to explode gas cylinders in the sun or close to heat sources.

When opening the bottle valve, the operator must stand on the side of the bottle’s mouth.

  1. Observe high-voltage safety regulations when repairing.

Every 1 day of operation or weekly maintenance, every 1000 hours of operation or every six months of maintenance, which must be carried out in accordance with regulations and procedures.

  1. After powering on the machine, it should manually start the machine tool in the X, Y, and Z directions at low speeds, and check for any abnormalities.
  2. After inputting the new part program, it should test run first and check its operation.
  3. When working, it should pay attention to observe the operation of the machine tool to prevent the cutting machine from going out of the effective stroke range or the accident caused by two collisions.

Maintenance work

Any product requires good maintenance to obtain a higher service life, this is undoubted, which is the daily maintenance content of processing tools set by every enterprise on a daily basis.

So how to maintain the metal laser cutting machine?

What needs to be done to get a high and stable life expectancy?

Dust and metal impurities cleaning

Dust cleaning is something that every machine needs to do in daily maintenance, and a clean and tidy machine is also a guarantee for the quality of the product.

Metal laser cutting machine is mainly for metal processing, although the cut metal should soon be blown away, there will still be some residues, which is important for the cleaning of these impurities.

Regular statistics of machine usage

Each part of the metal laser cutting machine parts on a regular basis are to adhere to and record, the parts that are not effective are quickly replaced to make the metal laser cutting machine in a relaxed working environment, which can not let the defective parts drag down the use effects of the machine.

Common problems

  • The solution of burrs when cutting low carbon steel.
  • The solution of abnormal sparks when cutting low carbon steel.
  • The Analysis of burrs produced on workpieces during laser cutting of stainless steel and Al-Zinc sheet.
  • The most common problem with laser cutting machines is the deformation of the material when processing the punching.
  • Analysis of incomplete laser penetration

After analysis, the following shows the main conditions that produce processing instability:

The choice of laser head nozzle does not match the processing thickness;

Laser cutting line speeds are too high and require operational controls to reduce the line speed;

Inaccurate nozzle sensing leads to large errors in the laser focus position and requires rechecking of the nozzle sensing data, especially when cutting aluminum.

According to the working and design principles of CO2 laser cutting, the solutions to these common problems are made according to the processing method of metal laser cutting machines and material analysis.

Cutting material

The processed materials for metal laser cutting machines, although almost all metal materials have high reflectivity to infrared energy at room temperature, CO2 lasers emitting 10.6um beams in the far-infrared band are successfully applied to many metal laser cutting practices.

The initial absorption of 10.6um laser beams by metals is only 0.5% to 10%, but when focused laser beams with power densities in excess of 106w/cm2 are directed at a metal surface, the surface quickly begins to melt in microseconds.

The absorption rate of most metals in the molten state increases dramatically, typically by 60% to 80%.

Carbon steel

Modern laser cutting systems can cut carbon steel plate up to a maximum thickness of 20MM, the use of oxidative fusion cutting mechanism to cut carbon steel slit can be controlled in a satisfactory width range, the thin plate of its slit can be as narrow as 0.1MM.

Stainless steel

Laser cutting is an effective tool for manufacturing industries that use thin stainless steel sheets as the main component.

With strict control of the heat input to the laser cutting process, the heat-affected zone at the cutting edge is limited to a minimum, which is very effective in maintaining good corrosion resistance of the material.

Alloy steels

Most alloyed structural and tool steels can be laser cut to achieve good edge quality.

Even for some high-strength materials, as long as the process parameters are properly controlled, straight and non-sticky slag cutting edges can be obtained.

However, for high-speed tool steels and hot-die steels containing tungsten, melting and slagging can occur with laser cutting.

Aluminum and alloys

Aluminum cutting is a melting and cutting mechanism, and the auxiliary gas used is mainly used to blow away the molten product from the cutting area to obtain a better cut surface quality.

For some aluminum alloys, it must day attention to prevent intergranular microcracks on the cut surface.

Copper and alloys

Pure copper (copper) with too highly reflective can not be cut with a CO2 laser beam.

Brass (copper alloy) uses higher laser power, and the auxiliary gas uses air or oxygen, which can cut thinner plates.

Titanium and alloys

Pure titanium can be well coupled to the thermal energy of the focused laser beam, the auxiliary gas using oxygen when the chemical reaction is intense, faster-cutting speed, but easy in the cutting edge of the generation of the oxide layer, carelessness will also cause overburning.

To be on the safe side, the use of air as an auxiliary gas is better, to ensure the quality of cutting.

The titanium laser cutting quality commonly used in aircraft manufacturing is better, although there will be a little slag at the bottom of the kerf, it is easy to remove.

Nickel alloy

Nickel-based alloys, also known as superalloys, come in many varieties.

Most of them are available for oxidized fusion cutting.

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