With greater demand for products made with laser cutters, growing numbers of small businesses and large manufacturing plants are replacing traditional mechanical cutting methods with laser cutting. Laser cutting has a number of unique benefits that other methods can’t provide.
Highly Accurate Finished Pieces Products made with laser cutters have a much finer tolerance than mechanical-cut items. The edge load from a cutting blade introduces minor warp distortions on the finished shape.
These distortions may be so small as to be invisible to the naked eye, but when working under tight tolerances this can still be enough to reject a piece and require re-manufacture. A beam of light doesn’t wear out like a cutting blade does. That wear on a mechanical cutting blade can introduce variation when cutting many parts and the difference between the first and last piece in a batch can be substantial. On the other hand, laser cutters produce finished pieces that are exactly the same on a consistent basis.
Mechanical cutting introduces the possibility of contamination, either of the blade or the piece being cut. With no physical contact involved, laser cutting reduces or eliminates the possibility of cross-contamination.
Laser Cutters Yield New Possibilities.
Manufacturers that incorporate laser cutting into their process often find that they can provide additional products and services.
Laser cutters are capable of creating complex shapes with fine detail that are beyond the capability of even the smallest saw blade. Pieces that previously had to be handled manually to add detail or eliminate rough edges come out of the cutter ready to ship. The cuts often require no or minimal finishing.
The automatic sealing of edges in synthetics can also eliminate another post-cutting step. Some materials can’t be cost-effectively cut with traditional methods but yield easily to a laser. Materials that are hard or abrasive wear out saw blades but leave the beam of the laser cutter untouched.
One Tool, Many Uses
Another big benefit to laser cutting is the wide range of materials that can be used. By adjusting the power, a single laser cutter can slice through quartz or oak and then minutes later slice cleanly through a sheet of paper without ripping it. A single laser may be able to replace several mechanical cutters. Not only can these laser cutters handle different materials, but they can handle multiple jobs as well. You no longer need separate tools for rough cuts and fine detail. In fact, you don’t even need separate runs for both kinds of cuts. One pass can be enough to turn your raw material into a finished product without any additional work.
Software makes the process of laser cutting easy and safe. It also makes it simple to change jobs as you move from one production batch to the next. Setup is quick and production is likely to increase when moving away from mechanical systems.