Advantages and disadvantages of steel laser cutting

When it comes to precise methods of cutting steel, you can’t go past laser cutting. The process involves a focused beam of laser light which will burn or vaporise metals. Using Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machining process, laser cutters are capable of producing intricate and accurate cuts with a quality finish.

Why is there a need for laser cutting? With the demand for innovative manufacturing and production processes around the world increasing rapidly, so did the need for safer, more efficient cutting techniques.

What’s so great about laser cutting?

  • Minimal distortion: The precision levels and edge quality achieved on steel plates up to 25mm thick with laser cutting machines are superior to traditional cutting methods, as the laser beam will not wear during the laser cutting process.
  • Economical material usage: Laser cutting machines will allow for a narrow cuts and close nesting, ensuring material efficiency and reduced waste product
  • Computer generated: The whole process is monitored by the computer program, which not only makes the cut extremely precise, it’s algorithm ensures the machine is not overworked
  • Work smarter, not harder: Using a laser cutting machine uses lower power consumption, which drives down production costs. Here at ShapeCUT, we are a fully solar powered metal processing firm, which lowers overhead costs for us which is then passed on to our customers
  • No contact process: The laser beam never actually touches the metal plate its working with. It melts and cuts it via the heat of the beam. The damage to the plate is minimised, with smooth edges and little kerf.
  • Versatile: Laser cutting machines are incredibly versatile, no matter how intricate or complex your design is. It can be used to burn anything from simple shapes to highly complex designs in one piece. Laser cutting also allows machine operators to cut small diameter holes with multipart detail and smooth edge quality in either sheet, plate, tube or box section.
  • Fast and easily repeatable: Production time is quick and with reduced time for set-up, the machine has the ability to react or adapt quickly to changes to production needs

The main disadvantages and what you need to consider

  • Not all types of metals can be cut with a laser cutting machine. Copper and aluminium are not compatible with a laser cutter, but can be achieved with a high definition plasma cutter
  • Older machines do use a lot of power. Always ensure your laser cutting firm utilises the latest cutting technologies available to reduce on production costs
  • Are slightly more expensive than similar processes, such as plasma or water-jet cutting. Chat to your steel cutting firm about your requirements and what machine can achieve your desired result

ShapCUT has nearly 30 years’ experience with laser, plasma and oxy cutting machines, offering customised solutions for your steel cutting needs. We can help you decide which process is most cost-effective for your business needs. Simply contact us today for a competitive quote.