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The CO2 or carbon dioxide laser is the most powerful type of industrial laser currently available. In general, this type of laser is used for deep penetration welding, but also for contour cutting. Most solids easily absorb the CO2 laser’s light (ten point six micrometers) which means that it can be used in order to process a wide range of materials.
Benefits of using a CO2 laser cutter:
- Less noise compared to plasma or water jet
- Composite edges won’t tear
- Easily cut ceramics or foam rubber
- Make partial or blind cuts
- Tool changes are not hardware changes, but software changes (as in the use of dies and punches for instance).
- No tool wear compared to using punch press or a milling tool
- Minimal fixturing required for wide range of cutting jobs
- Easily automated laser cutting
- Save with closely nested patterns with narrow kerf width
- Cut edges are almost perpendicular to the surface, relatively smooth, and require no further cleaning or shaping before further fabrication
- No distortion or warping on flexible and thin materials due to low heat input
Lower power consumption
Power consumption is much lower with laser. In fact, a 4kW laser will consume only 10kW of power which is 5 times lower than a turret punch or blanking press.
Fiber lasers need to be enclosed in a very tight and well secured box. This means that they are basically designed in such a way that they require no human intervention during the cutting process.
Material Scrap savings
When it comes to lasers, parts need only share a common outline in order to have a single cut and without any kind of scraps. If needed, the machine may also cut a minimal scrap skeleton as small as a sixteenth of an inch.
It’s well known that blanking dies are able to cut materials up to the maximum tensile strength. What’s amazing about CO2 laser cutting is that it can basically cut any material as long as it can be melted.
A turret punch or blanking press has costly tools that require regular storing and sharpening. This is not the case for CO2 lasers. In fact, in order to change a part in a laser, you need to just change its program. If replacement parts are required, they are generally nozzles and lenses which are very affordable.
CO2 laser cutters can change the cutting profile on the fly and they also require a lot less time to be reprogrammed.
Better edge quality
When properly used, a laser can effectively cut a part with an edge with a very smooth surface, while ensuring the bottom edge is smooth and the top edge remains square.
Lasers can instantly change programs, resulting in great cost and time savings. Small production runs in this case will have a much lower price. Even more, for every two blanking lines, three laser lines will be able to produce the same output.
CO2 laser cutting is superior to other cutting technologies and tools. Not only is it more effective and can cleanly cut a wider range of materials, but it’s also much cheaper and requires very little maintenance.