Cutting, among all the laser applications, is the most widely applied one in the industrial, due to the its optimum cut quality, high process speed and good repeatability. Today laser cutting is widely applied to a variety of raw or semi-finished materials ranging from simple sheet metals to complex deep drawn geometries or tubes with prismatic sections.
The principal advantages of laser cutting can be summarized as:
High process speed: cutting speed is amongst the highest obtainable with energetic beam processes, especially in the case of small thicknesses
Small kerf width: the obtained kerf widths are very small, which results in very small amount of material loss and guarantees elevated process speeds
High cutting quality: the obtained cut quality is high enough to avoid any further surface finish. In particular:
o The process is stable and repeatable in terms of dimensional requirements
o Surface finish is fine. Typical values for surface roughness for cut thicknesses below 3 mm is Ra<4 µm, whereas for higher thicknesses it is Ra<8µm.
o The heat affected zone is limited
The process is highly adaptable to automation, both in case of sheet metal or 3D cutting (with beams delivered by fibers)
Absence of cutting forces, thus absence of the cutting tool wear