Why are Industrial Lasers Valuable?
What do you think of when you hear “laser?”
Many people might think of the toy that drives your cat crazy or a nostalgic concert from their past.
Unless you work in an industry that requires laser manufacturing or laser materials processing, industrial lasers are a foreign concept.
The introduction of the first functioning laser in 1960 was only the beginning.
Industrial lasers are now a high functioning industrial tool with a range of capabilities. An industrial laser is capable of intense power with high precision. This is the main value for manufacturers and industrial industries. Types include CO2 lasers and fiber lasers.
Laser materials processing solves a universal problem of traditional machining equipment. Traditional processes like welding and drilling require a higher amount of human interaction. This leaves room for human error and higher employment costs. Industrial lasers manipulate and rework materials to create fine and precise features with higher productivity.
Depending on the laser system, the applications include:
An industrial laser creates high-quality products with minimum distortion. This is because laser beams are single controlled, intense sources of heat. Even though a laser emits an intense source of heat, the HAZ, or heat affected zone, is very low. This tells manufacturers there is minimal distortion of product, a quality that businesses value. This important feature meets production requirements, like providing clean cuts with no burr or heat effects to the surrounding material.
Industrial lasers use high levels of energy but not volumes of it, due to the removal of secondary tooling. This in addition to the contact-free element allows less heat energy pressure on materials and parts. The guarantee of high-quality laser cutting is vital to business sectors looking for the best manufacturer.
Choosing an industrial laser or manufacturer means customers expect consistent and repeatable applications at a quicker pace than traditional methods. Because there is minimal human interaction, lasers run on longer operation periods and require minimal servicing. The fewer moving parts and tooling reduces traditional maintenance and operation costs.
This is attractive for businesses, even ones requiring limited-run projects. Lower costs across the board include the services offered to customers.
In general, laser manufacturing only requires three parts for successful operation.
Custom manufacturing companies operate at high volumes, making the production of small but vital parts more accessible to customers.
The evolution of the industrial laser shows up in the wide range of applications one unit offers. Traditional cutting, marking, and drilling of materials used to require different machines and additional tooling for one application. Now, depending on the lasers a manufacturer services, these applications are covered. This includes new applications like additive manufacturing!
The types of material a laser works on is also versatile. Most industrial lasers produce enough power for metal, but much of that strength also operates on woods, plastics, and more.
Industries like the trucking industry look for manufacturers who create small parts at high volume and precision. Industrial lasers are designed to meet these tight tolerances.
A tight tolerance is defined as the acceptable number of variations during part processing. To simplify, a smaller tolerance on a machine guarantees higher accuracy and more precise cuts, drills, welds, and more.
The typical tolerance of lasers, from CO2 to fiber lasers, fall between +/- 0.125mm tolerance. In contrast, a traditional bandsaw goes up to 1 mm. For example, Tie Down’s ILS division produces parts on a BLM Adige laser tube cutting machine with a typical tolerance of the +/- 0.125 mm. This is the same as a Trumpf 7000 tube laser.
When customers and manufacturers decide on a proper nesting process, the laser machine creates complex actions with high levels of precision and tolerance levels, satisfying the requirements of a customer.