Cutting with laser
One of the first applications of lasers in the field of sheet metal was and is laser cutting. It is among the thermal beam procedures, and represents in this area the greatest industrial importance. Sheets, tubes and other 2D or 3D metal components with thicknesses up to 25 mm, in exceptional cases also thicker, are cut with lasers.
The laser beam is focused in a cutting head by means of lenses to focal spot size of a few tenths of a millimeter, and in general melts the metallic material. A coaxial gasjet "blows" the melt downwardly and generates in this way the kerf. If the material or the cutting head moves during the process, required contours in 2 or 3 dimensions can be formed.
The most commonly used gases are oxygen and nitrogen
The movements can be produced by means of axis (CNC controlled), robots can be used or in some cases a combination of the movement of the material with the motion of the axes. In this case we speak of a hybrid system.
Laser cutting reaches, depending upon material thickness, laser power and type of material, now speeds of a few meters per minute, with thin sheets of less than 1 mm across more than 50 m/min in a linear motion.
Diode lasers in cutting
Diode lasers have right now the highest efficiency of all lasers that are used in materials processing. Therefore these lasers continue to broaden its applications more and more. Laser cutting has the highest requirements regarding brightness compared to other applications. Diode lasers from Laserline reach the necessary conditions for several years now and therefore are used in robot-cutting applications in production.
The advantages of laser cutting in comparison to other methods are: contact-free, force-free, low heat input, no burrs, no tools necessary and high cutting speeds are of course achieved with diode lasers as well.
The diode laser make use of its biggest advantages when the same beam source is used in addition to cutting for other applications, such as welding and brazing in the automotive body shop. Here other laser sources and - technologies are in general often not suitable.