The precision, speed and quality that laser technology has to offer has made it the gold standard for machinery in the sheet metal industry. There are three different types of laser technology used for sheet metal machinery; carbon dioxide, Nd:YAG and fibre. In this article, we take a closer look at the various laser technologies available.
Carbon dioxide laser
First developed in 1964, CO2 lasers are the highest powered type of laser on the market. As the name would suggest, CO2 lasers use carbon dioxide gas as a laser medium and produce a long wavelength of infrared light which can be absorbed by a wide range of solid materials including stainless steel, mild steel, aluminium and titanium. Some of the advantages of CO2 lasers include the ability to cut through a wide range of materials including thicker materials, a quick processing time and reasonable resolution at shorter focal lengths. Some of the drawbacks of CO2 laser technology includes its inability to cut infrared reflecting materials, a relatively large focal spot, and a low power density when compared with other laser technologies.
Nd:YAG is a crystal laser with a high power density that makes it ideal for focusing on a tight spot and producing a precision cut. The crystal is used as a lasing medium for a solid state laser. The Nd:YAG technology is best suited to cutting a range of metals including coated metals. Aside from it’s high power density, some of the advantages of Nd:YAG lasers include it’s fast processing time for thin materials, and a high DPI capability. Some of the drawbacks associated with this technology include it’s expensive pump diodes, which need to be regularly replaced, the wear on the crystal and its short Rayleigh length which makes cutting thicker materials harder.
Fibre technology is a solid state laser that uses an optical fibre as a laser medium. It is suited to cutting a wide range of metals including coated and reflective metals like brass, aluminium, and copper. This is because like Nd:YAG lasers, fibre lasers have a short wavelength and can therefore produce an extremely small spot size. Some of the advantages of fibre lasers include high output power, high optical quality, temperature and vibrational stability, and low maintenance requirements. The major drawback of fibre lasers is their short wavelength, which makes cutting through thick materials more difficult.
ACRA specialise in state of the art sheet metal machinery, including a state of the art fibre laser cutter from Durmazlar. To learn more about our product range, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling 03 9794 6675.