5 Common Problems and Solutions with Metal Laser Cutting

5 Common Problems and Solutions with Metal Laser Cutting

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5 common metal laser cutting problems

5 common metal laser cutting problems
It is relatively straightforward to comprehend the term “laser cutting,” as it refers to the use of a laser to make cuts in different materials. Laser cutting is widely used in the metal fabrication industry to cut metals and alloys such as zinc, carbon steel, aluminum, cutting steel, and tool steel.
Metals with consistent shapes and sizes can be produced through laser cutting when common issues are avoided. Manufacturers realize these challenges are not completely overcome, which is why they implement other post-processing and secondary techniques to address these challenges.
Several factors can affect the quality of laser cutting, such as the cutting equipment, the material, the operator’s expertise, and others. There are many problems that can arise, ranging from uneven cuts to deformations caused by heat or combustion.
Despite the fact that laser cutting remains one of the most reliable methods of manufacturing products, many industries need companies that can provide this service with tight tolerances. To satisfy client requests, laser cutting service providers must constantly monitor for these issues.

1. Issues with Cutting Thick Metals

As a general rule, thicker materials pose a greater cutting challenge than thinner ones. This is especially true if the plate has a thickness over 0.4 inches. This can present a problem when laser cutting carbon steel.
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A number of factors play a role in the limitations associated with laser cutting, including heat conductivity, laser focus, surface reflection, metal or alloy type, and part geometry, among others. It is more likely for a thermal runaway or blowout to occur when cutting thicker metals.

The solution for such issues is to focus the beam and decrease the size of the spot. As a result, lasers can be used to cut a variety of metal thicknesses with much greater precision and effectiveness.

During laser cutting, gas-assisted technology may be used to ensure optimal performance. The focused assist gas helps prevent burning and removes debris and molten metal from the kerf (material that has been burned away).

2. Uneven Cutting

The geometry of the part is crucial to a successful laser cutting operation, as mentioned previously. This means that different geometries of parts can have an effect on the quality of metal cutting.
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It may be more challenging to achieve consistent cutting speeds when cutting small corners or areas. Metal parts with complex geometries that have unique shapes are subject to the same problem. Similarly to uneven cuts in metalwork, uneven cuts also increase thermal runways or blowouts.

In order to reduce the possibility of uneven cutting, a laser should be focused or sped up when cutting curves, angles, or other complex shapes. This helps reduce deterioration and blowout of the edge. Additionally, customers can opt for a simple metal design without too many angles or corners. In addition to speeding up the laser cutting process, this also makes the process more cost-effective by reducing the cost of correcting defects and exchanging materials.

3. Presence of Burrs

In laser cutting, a burr refers to a rough edge or uneven ridge. Burrs could have detrimental impacts on the finished part if not addressed since they lead to reduced safety over time. Similarly, burred metal can accumulate increased stress levels when used under harsh conditions – parts will wear out.
In order to use laser cutting equipment safely, operators must ensure that they determine laser focal points before starting the operation. As well as restarting the machine, increasing the speed of cutting, and adjusting the output value to reduce instabilities that cause burrs, they must also adjust the output power.

4. Deformations with tiny holes

A laser cutter may have difficulty creating small holes in metals because of the small area of the metal surface. Hole deformations are affected by small diameters and part thickness. As a result of these small cuts, the energy concentrated in the material is so high that it becomes charred.
In these cases, operators turn to a more stable laser cutting technique called soft puncture (also known as pulse perforation) whenever holes in the metal are needed. Besides achieving consistent hole shapes, this also ensures that metal surfaces are smooth.

When compared with a constant laser focus, pulse perforation involves applying the laser to the metal in a pulsating or intermittent pattern to improve accuracy. The process eliminates the risk of charring the surrounding material and ensures the absence of residual material after the cutting cycle has ended.

5. Lack of sufficient depth of cut

Errors related to the focal point adjustment are usually responsible for insufficient depth when cutting or engraving a metal workpiece. Laser cuts are adversely affected when the laser is not directed properly, resulting in uneven surfaces where uniformity is expected.
Changing the depth, output power, or slowing down the engraving process are ways to address this problem. Nonetheless, if the operator has already performed these checks without a noticeable change in the cutting quality, the laser tube or the power supply should be inspected for wear.

What you need to know

There are many common issues with laser cutting that are directly related to the adjustment of the machine itself. A lack of laser focus causes insufficient cutting depth and other problems, such as burrs, uneven edges, and charred corners.
It is crucial for firms that fabricate or manufacture metals to assess laser cutting equipment and optimize their processes to eliminate defects before they occur. Yet, laser cutting remains a useful tool for a variety of industries that require precisely cut parts within tolerances.
Quick turnaround is our top priority at Omnidex Laser. Contact us today if you are looking for laser cutting or metal cutting services.

Omnidex Laser is always excited to work with our customers and to meet each of their project’s requirements and specifications.

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In addition to providing clients with a broad range of industrial manufacturing services, Omnidex also provide laser cutting services, laser profiling, CAD services, and press braking and more. Our commitment to manufacturing processes, technology, and quality systems is what allows Omnidex Laser to produce and deliver a high-quality service for laser cutting to clients across the region.

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The steel and laser cutting services we offer in Scotland are offered across the entire country. Between Edinburgh and Glasgow, the central belt, and even up to Aberdeen and Dundee in the north, are our areas of operation.

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