Cutting is the most basic and widely used process in metal fabrication. Laser cutting is the go-to technology to perform such jobs in the industry because of its many advantages over other methods.
At the same time, it does have a few downsides as well. So let’s explore those great qualities and disadvantages more closely.
What Are the Advantages of Laser Cutting?
The reason why FARGO Steel prefers laser cutting services lies with the long list of upsides it offers. The advantages of laser cutting are flexibility, precision, repeatability, speed, cost-effectiveness, great quality, contactless cutting, versatility and automation possibilities.
Laser cutting does not require an exchange of tools for each separate cut. The same setup is suitable for cutting a lot of different shapes within the same material thickness. Also, intricate cuts do not pose any problems.
Accuracy is one of the primary advantages of laser cutting when compared to other thermal cutting methods. An accuracy of +/-0.1 mm gives an opportunity to achieve high precision without any after-treatment. In most cases, such a high standard means that no added tolerances are required.
FARGO uses superior technology to ensure precision. The AMADA ENSIS range uses variable beam control technology developed by AMADA enabling modulation of the laser beam. This allows our team to reduce machine setup, ensuring efficient project turnaround times. This technology is energy-saving, requiring less consumption and reduced power consumption ensuring cost-effective applications.
+/- 0.05 mm ensures parts that are pretty much replicas of each other.
Laser cutting is a lot quicker than traditional mechanical cutting methods. Especially in the case of more complex cuts.
When comparing it to other thermal cutting methods like plasma or flame cutting, laser beats them in speed up to a certain thickness which is around 10 mm. The exact advantage point boils down to the power of the laser cutter, though.
The job needs little manpower as contemporary laser cutting machinery is highly automated. An experienced machine operator still plays a big role in the final quality but the speed of cutting and little need for manual labour result in lower costs compared to other cutting methods.
Many machines even come with feeding systems as well as follow-up conveyors. Of course, such setups make for a higher-priced laser cutting machine.
Using the right setup, laser cutters only leave a small burr. Often, it is not necessary to even remove it. Of course it depends on the material, its thickness and other factors.
In case of laser cutting, only the beam comes into contact with the material. Therefore, there is no mechanical friction that could wear tools.
This is probably one of the most important aspects of laser cutting’s greatness. The versatility manifests itself in two ways. Laser cutting is suitable for a lot of different materials. Among them are different metals, acrylic, MDF, wood, paper, etc. One machine can be configured to perform different jobs. Of course, the ability to cut some of these materials depends on the power of your machine.
What Are the Disadvantages of Laser Cutting?
Although used to produce parts in almost every industry, laser cutting does have it downsides. Namely, need of expertise, limitations to metal thickness, costs and hazardous fumes are all things to consider before turning to laser cutting.
Need of Expertise
As we already said, a specialist operator is a must in order to make the most of a laser cutter’s potential. The right setup makes sure the cutting quality is up to the standard people are expecting from this technology.
With over 23 years of experience, FARGO Steel is your laser cutting specialist. In business since 1988, FARGO Steel offers quality laser cut components from various materials. We offer guaranteed accuracy and client satisfaction, whether you require cutting services or a complete supply of material and laser cutting.
Limitations to Metal Thickness
Comparing laser cutting to other thermal cutting methods, it is not suitable to cut very thick plates. The largest suitable thickness depends on the available machinery and the know-how at hand. On average, metal fabrication companies tend to laser cut metal up to 15 or 20 mm.