Laser cutting is a technology that uses a laser to cut different types of materials, mainly metals such as carbon steel, aluminum, stainless steel, and copper alloys. It is widely used in the metal fabrication industry to increase cutting speed and capacity, reduce production costs, increase productivity, and improve cutting quality.
A laser or LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is a device that generates a highly concentrated, coherent, monochromatic beam of light. Light is produced by the stimulated emission process.
Among the most commonly used lasers in cutting is the carbon dioxide laser (CO2 laser), a type of gas laser that is also used in welding. It is capable of emitting a maximum of 100 kilowatts at 9.6 µm and 10.6 µm and cutting 20-30 m of one-millimeter-thick material in one minute.
Cutting is done by directing the energy produced by the high-power laser to a small part of the object to be cut. That small portion is pierced first before making a cut.
From the small hole, a cut is created by moving the beam through the area of the material being cut or by moving the object while the laser is held still. Both methods can be used. As the intense beam of light hits the part of the object or material, the temperature of the material increases, causing it to melt, burn and evaporate even without a sufficient amount of heat.
Not all materials require the same amount of laser power (the speed at which light emits energy). Thicker materials need more laser power, while thinner materials need less laser power. Carbon dioxide laser cutting is typically done at 1,000 to 1,500 watts. Materials like steel need more than two kW.
Compared to other metal cutting procedures, laser cutting is much more advantageous, although it also has some disadvantages. Its main advantages are precision, cutting quality, cutting speed and economy. Among its disadvantages is its high voltage requirement. There is also the risk of serious burns from the laser beam.