- CO2 Lasers
- Fiber Lasers
Cutting is done using fiberglass. The lasers originate from a “seed laser” before being amplified via special fibers. Fiber lasers are in the same category with disk lasers and nd:YAG, and belong to a family called “solid-state lasers”. Compared to a gas laser, fiber lasers do not have moving parts, are two to three times more energy-efficient, and are capable of cutting reflective materials without fear of back reflections. These lasers can work with both metal and non-metal materials.
- Crystal Lasers
Benefits of Laser Cutting
- High precision and accuracy
- High production speed
- Wide material compatibility
- Optimal material utilization
- Intricate part cutting
- No risk of contamination (since it’s a contactless process)
- Minimal distortion on parts due to a small heat-affected zone
Applications for Robotic Laser Cutting
- Some parts have complex shapes. These parts may have ideal robotic applications, provided enough access space exists for the cutting head. High-volume flat-sheet cutting can be done more cost-effectively by a dedicated 2-D laser cutting machine. However, if both 2-D and 3-D cutting are required, a robotic laser cutting system can be suitable.
- Parts such as hydroformed tube sections used in automotive frames that have closed sections where holes can’t be punched because of limited access to the back of the material are another candidate for a robotic system.
- The part production volume should be high to cost the robotic laser cutting equipment and fixtures.
- For most robotic laser cutting applications, aluminum and steel parts should be 0.5 to 5 millimeters thick. Cutting thickness capacity depends on laser performance and power; for example, aluminum requires more power than steel to cut the same thickness. As the power of the laser increases, so does the cost of the laser generator.
- Material coatings also play a role in cutting. For instance, zinc-coated steel can reduce cutting speed, while anodized aluminum can improve cutting speed.
- Part location must be repeatable and allow access to all areas to be cut.