Benefits of Laser Cutting
In the last few years Hanbury-Autogil has been making big moves in cutting technology. Using laser as a method of cutting materials used by our customers is proving more and more effective. So much so that we are in the midst of developing a standard line of Laser Cutting Machines. Some of our existing customers have switch from using flat-bed cutting systems to laser cutting to improve the quality of their cut.
Laser cutting machines work by focussing a beam of laser light onto a material. The laser is so high powered that when focused it melts or vaporizes the material to be cut. Often an assist gas is used to help push heated material from the cut area.
Different types of motion can be used to move the laser head such as linear, ball screws and rack and pinions with linear being the quickest and most accurate. Typically, CO2 or fibre lasers are used on our machines.
Die cutting machines work by bespoke designed die’s shearing through a material to achieve certain shapes from soft or semi-ridged materials. The dies are mounted on a heavy-duty press which is forced down onto the material to cut through single or multiple layers.
Advantages and disadvantages of Laser Cutting;
- Laser cutting machines typically have a lower power consumption in comparison to a heavy-duty press.
- Laser cut parts may produce less waste as when the parts have a common outline, they can be cut with a single cut.
- Laser systems can cut any material if it can be melted.
- Low maintenance as no new tool is required for a different shape. Just program the cut and go.
- Laser cutting improves the edge quality of parts. When using a die cutting machine the die stretches the material and can leave a stretched edge that needs fixing with an abrasive. This secondary process adds cost whereas a laser, when properly focussed can produce a much better cut in comparison.
- Because there is no direct contact with a cutting tool, the risk of contamination is reduced.
- Less human intervention is required, meaning less injuries and accidents occur.
One negative of laser cutting lies in the method of profiling the parts to be cut. Where die cutting cuts one whole part at a time, a laser must trace the whole outline of a shape to cut the part.
Cutting plastic components with Laser can sometimes be difficult as gas is emitted during cutting. This means that a well-ventilated room is needed. The gases released can also be harmful and toxic.
Your production process could benefit from switching to Laser Cutting. Get in touch and find out how we can help!