LASER CUTTING: THE TECHNOLOGY

Process definition and overview

Laser cutting processes are cutting processes classified under DIN 8580 in the following hierarchy: Main group – Separating; Group – Ablation; Sub-group - Thermal ablation. Common to these processes is the laser beam that acts as a punctiform “tool” and the fact that the contour data is imported via the CNC control.

The process principle of laser cutting is based on a focussed laser beam which heats the solid fissure material creating a liquid or vapour phase.  During the cutting process the laser beam heats the material to ignition temperature and a reactive jet of cutting gas blows the liquefied material and any slag out of the cutting fissure.

The laser beam cutting process is particularly useful in metal working as it can reach higher cutting speeds where the cut surfaces are largely parallel.  The laser cutting process is particularly versatile in terms of the quantities and products it can produce thanks to the interaction of the punctiform beam with the workpiece without the need for any tools.  The flexibility of the workpiece is only really limited by the capability of the handling unit and its controls. Even three-dimensional pieces can be machined if multi-axis machines are used.  In sheet metal working the laser cutting process has proven itself to be a quick, flexible and economical production process in numerous fields of application.