Laser cutting has been popular since the 1970s. Today, new fabrication methods continue to advance product designs in diverse industries from automotive manufacturing to health care. Here are five reasons why designers and engineers choose lasers over other metal cutting systems.
1. Shorter Lead Times
Lasers create prototypes rapidly and at lower costs. Rapid prototyping shortens a critical part of the design process that reduces the time to market. The equipment is suitable for small or large production runs that are needed on short schedules. Lasers deliver optimal results when production time is critical for on-time project completion.
2. Expanded Design Options
Powerful multi-axis lasers offer greater design possibilities for industrial engineers. High-tech equipment overcomes material-related challenges. The machining process produces clean, accurate kerfs on flexible alloys and rigid plates up to three-quarters of an inch thick depending on the material’s composition.
3. Increased Efficiency and Reduced Material Waste
Clients can reduce raw material consumption and waste by laser cutting metal. Tight nesting with minimal space between cutting paths allows operators to maximize material use and reduce waste, which translates to cost savings. Lasers also produce accurate, infinitely repeatable cuts that eliminate unusable flawed parts.
4. Optimal Precision
Few cutting systems rival the consistent accuracy of lasers. Computer numerical control (CNC) routers precisely maneuver cutting lenses to produce complex geometric patterns with a high degree of accuracy. Laser-cut components meet or exceed quality metrics and tolerances, which makes the process ideal for aerospace parts, mechanical components and medical devices where there’s no room for error.
5. Reduced Finishing Requirements
Laser cutting is a smart decision for parts that must meet tight dimensional tolerances and quality standards. Laser-cut edges are smooth and free from burrs. Because the beams are tightly focused, they don’t cause internal flaws due to heat exposure. Final quality checks, such as optical measuring, ensure that laser-cut parts meet all specifications.
Increasing Demand for Laser Cutting
The range of options for laser cutting metal has increased demand for new equipment. Analysts predict that the market for fiber and CO2 gas lasers will increase by 9.4 percent by 2024. Sales of laser cutting equipment are expected to exceed $6 billion during this time. Laser cutting metal is also on the rise. It’s not surprising since lasers are accurate and efficient manufacturing tools.