Major Problems Faced When Laser Cutting Steel

Posted on: 11 March 2020

A practical and cost-efficient way to fabricate metals is through laser cutting. Laser machines are distinct from others in their application and design. For instance, laser cutters never make contact with the material. They tend to use high-energy power sources and tighter cutting tolerances. Also, for maximum precision, these devices are automated. The laser is useful in cutting various grades of steel. Though the method offers numerous benefits, you may face some challenges when using a laser cutter. Here are common issues faced when using a laser in cutting steel and how to solve them. 

Material Considerations

Increase in thickness of the metal makes laser cutting less effective. An increase in thickness also increases the chances of getting a thermal runaway. The best thing to do to maximise the cutter's power is to focus the beam. You can also reduce the spot size to make the cutting tool sharper. In most cases, focusing the assist gas could also improve the cutting ability of the laser because the assist gas is used for combustion. It is also helpful when blowing any debris from the kerf. All this helps the energy transfer to the material effectively.

Uneven Cutting Results

Laser cutting affects various part geometries differently. For example, corners of parts and small areas will absorb more heat. That makes it hard to keep the cutting speeds consistent. You will have a less accurate cutting when there is a more complicated part geometry. The best thing to do when cutting curves is to increase the speed. This increase in the rate while cutting corners will prevent overheating. 

Cutting Results Affected by Combustion

The quality of the material has a substantial effect on laser cutting compared to other methods of metal cutting. The quality of the steel will determine the kind of finish you get. The steel you are cutting needs to be clean and oil-free, and it also needs to be made up of only a few elements. Carbon steel, for instance, is made up of various components. Each of these elements tends to have different melting points. Because of that, they all have a different reaction when exposed to the laser. If you want a cleaner cut, get materials with consistent element composition. The best to use is the premium steel plates.

These are some of the common challenges you will face when cutting steel using a laser. Lasers are the solution for many applications. They offer flexibility and a controlled procedure. Once you have considered the issues listed above, you will have an effective metal cutting process. For more information about laser cutting, speak to a professional.