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Advantages and Disadvantages of Laser Cutting

Date:2015-09-24   Author:Smart   Hits 570

Laser cutting involves the use of a laser beam to cut materials like wood, plastic, metal, rubber, etc. 
This technology has become an important part of a manufacturing process. The advantages and 
disadvantages of this method are discussed below.
 
 Material cutting is one of the major steps involved in a manufacturing process. This step must be 
performed accurately and efficiently so that the subsequent steps of the manufacturing process can
 be carried out properly. Current manufacturing units use lasers to perform this task. Laser cutting 
machines are integrated with a computer-controlled programing system which determines where and how the cut has to be made on the
 material. Even though laser beams have great utility, they also have some limitations. 
 
 
Advantages of Laser Cutting
 
? Holding the workpiece in right position is easier in case of laser cutting as compared to 
mechanical cutting.
 
? Cuts obtained are extremely precise and do not require a lot of time. Rather, the entire process 
of cutting the material is quite easy and accomplished in less time than that required by conventional
 cutting machines.
 
? As the cut is made by the help of a laser beam, there is no direct contact of the workpiece with 
any cutting instrument,thereby eliminating the risk of material contamination.
 
? In conventional processes the heat generated while cutting generally turns the material of out shape. 
In laser cutting, as the area subjected to heat is very small, it reduces the chances of warping of the 
material.
 
? Laser cutting machines use less energy for cutting metal sheets as compared to plasma cutting
 technology.
 
? This technology can be used to cut a number of materials like ceramic, wood, rubber, plastic, 
and certain metals.
 
? Laser cutting is extremely versatile and can be used to cut or engrave simple to complex designs 
on a workpiece.
 
? Manufacturing units with space constraints benefit a lot by installing laser cutting machines because
 one or two laser cutters are capable of performing the job of several other machines used for cutting.
 
? Laser cutting is controlled by the help of computer programs, thereby saving substantial amount of 
manpower.
 
? As the machine does not require human involvement except for repairs and test runs, the incidence of 
accidents and injuries is also reduced.
 
? Efficiency of the machine is very high, and replicas obtained of the required design are exact copies of 
each other.
 
Disadvantages of Laser Cutting
 
? Consumption of power and efficiency depends on the type of laser used for cutting and the type of cut 
that has to be made. Generally, laser cutting involves high power consumption in comparison with other 
technologies used for cutting.
 
? Cutting plastic with the help of these machines may cost a lot of money because plastic emits
 fumes when subjected to heat. Due to this, the entire setup has to be made in a well-ventilated room which can be quite expensive. Also, fumes released during the process can be
 toxic and may prove to be fatal.
 
? Rate of production is not consistent when laser cutting is used. It highly depends on thickness of 
the workpiece, type of material, and type of laser used.
 
? Carelessness in adjusting laser distance and temperature may lead to burning of some materials.
 Certain metals tend to discolor if the intensity of the laser beam is not as per requirement.
 
? Human involvement is only needed in case of test runs and repairs. During these tasks, if by mistake, 
a worker comes in contact with the laser beam, he may suffer from serious burns.
 
Conventional cutting methods are also good and inexpensive, but despite the disadvantages associated 
with laser cutting process, the use of this technology has gained a lot of popularity. This is because the 
quality of finish obtained after laser cutting a material is far better than that obtained by other methods