In the sheet metal manufacturing industry, laser cutting remains the gold standard in terms of speed and precision but did you know this futuristic technology was first theorised about over 100 years ago? This week we uncover 10 surprising facts about the history of laser cutting technology.
- The relationship between energy and the frequency of radiation was first deduced by physicist Max Planck in 1900 who said energy could only be emitted and absorbed in chunks.
- This theory was extended by none other than Albert Einstein in 1905 with his paper on the photoelectric effect. In 1917 Einstein presented his theory on stimulated emission, the process which makes lasers possible.
- However, it would be 40 years before scientists would be able to prove Einstein’s theory in the lab. This was done in 1954 by Charles Hard Townes with the help of Herbert J, Zeiger and James P. Gordon.
- Originally the strength of a laser was measured in ‘gillettes’ which refers to the number of razor blades a laser beam can cut through. Today, the strongest laser is as powerful as a hydrogen bomb.
- Laser is an acronym which stands for Light Amplification By Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The term was coined by Gordon Gould in 1959.
- Ruby laser technology was first used in a cutting context to drill holes in diamond dies in 1965.
- In 1963 Kumar Patel developed the first Carbon Dioxide laser, which was more powerful and less expensive than the ruby laser previously used. A CO2 laser was the first to be used as for cutting metal in 1967 when it was used alongside oxygen jet cutting to cut through a 1mm thick sheet of steel.
- The Being Company was the first to use laser cutting technology in a manufacturing context in 1970, it invented multi-beam laser cutting technology and used it to cut through ‘hard’ materials such as titanium.
- 3D laser cutting was pioneered in 1979 and employed a 5 axes rotation system.
- Laser cutting is renowned for its accuracy and indeed laser measuring is accurate to just over a nanometre (a billionth of a metre).
Acra stock a top of the range laser cutter from leading sheet metal machinery manufacturer Durma. To learn more about our capabilities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 03 9794 6675.