TWI Industrial Member Report Summary 1044/2013
By Ali Khan
The laser cutting market is currently dominated by (10mm wavelength) CO2 lasers. The performance of these systems is the benchmark by which the new generation of (1μm wavelength) fibre and disk lasers is measured. Comparison between the 'traditional' 10mm wavelength (CO2 laser) and the new 1mm wavelength (fibre and disc) systems tends to be clouded by over simplified and enthusiastic claims of systems suppliers. There are still many questions that remain unanswered, especially regarding cut quality using 1mm laser sources - particularly in stainless steel alloys of material thickness >3mm.
To provide impartial expert advice to all TWI Members in determining the appropriate laser cutting technology for their applications.
- Process performance and cut edge quality in S275JR C-Mn steel is nearly the same for both laser sources evaluated in most material thicknesses.
- Cutting speed and cut edge quality are higher with 1mm wavelength laser cutting systems for 304 stainless steel, in material thickness less than 4mm.
- Attached dross is significant in thick-section cutting of 304 stainless steel using 1mm wavelength laser sources.