Metal Laser cutting is a technology that uses a laser to cut materials, and is typically used for industrial manufacturing applications, although due to the versatility and cleanness of the cut, is becoming more widely used.
It works by directing the output of a high-power laser most commonly through optics. The laser optics and CNC (computer numerical control) are used to direct the material or the laser beam generated. The focused laser beam is directed at the material, which then either melts, burns, vaporizes, or is blown away by a jet of gas, leaving an edge with a high-quality surface finish. Industrial laser cutters are used to cut flat-sheet material as well as structural and piping materials. There are generally three different configurations of industrial laser cutting machines: moving material, hybrid, and flying optics systems. These refer to the way that the laser beam is moved over the material to be cut or processed.
Generation of the laser beam involves stimulating a lasing material by electrical discharges or lamps within a closed container. As the lasing material is stimulated, the beam is reflected internally by means of a partial mirror, until it achieves sufficient energy to escape as a stream of monochromatic coherent light. Mirrors or fibre optics are typically used to direct the coherent light to a lens, which focuses the light at the work zone
Laser cutting presents certain advantages over plasma cutting as this process is more precise and uses less energy when cutting steel and aluminium sheets. Laser cutting technology also enables complex shapes to be cut without the need for tooling and at a similar or faster speed than other cutting methods.