Application and Prospect of Laser Cutting in Sheet Metal Fabrication Industry

Label:Laser Cutting, Application, Sheet Metal

Apr 20, 202119840

Application and Prospect of Laser Cutting in Sheet Metal Fabrication Industry

Laser processing technology has the advantages of high efficiency, high precision, not easily restricted by materials and flexible processing, and is gradually replacing traditional processing and manufacturing methods. Especially in the field of sheet metal cutting, laser cutting has occupied a high proportion.


In the 1970s, laser cutting technology was first applied to modern industrial production, and then gradually applied to sheet metal processing, plastic, glass and other different materials in the subsequent development process, becoming an indispensable and important process in the industrial production.


1. Laser equipment made its debut on the stage of sheet metal processing


Founded in 1946, AMADA was the first equipment manufacturer to consider how to use laser technology in sheet metal processing. As early as 1978, in response to the customer's desire to have a non-contact processing method, AMADA started the research and development of laser equipment and successfully developed the first laser processing machine lC-644 for sheet metal processing. The laser equipment at that time, the thickness of the cutting material was small, and the cutting speed was slow. It was completely incomparable with modern laser machines. However, it had epoch-making significance at that time and shocked the entire sheet metal processing industry.


2. The industrial revolution in the field of sheet metal fabrication


Laser cutting technology has been developed for decades, from solid-state lasers, CO2 lasers to fiber lasers, the technology is becoming more mature. With the intensified competition, the profit margins of all links in the sheet metal industry chain have been continuously compressed. Coupled with the defects of the traditional sheet metal processing technology, the old technology can no longer meet the development requirements of the enterprise, and laser cutting technology has been replaced. At the same time, China has gradually become an international manufacturing center. The demand for metal processing in the manufacturing industry continues to increase, and the demand for sheet metal processing capabilities is also increasing, which has promoted the development and prosperity of laser cutting.


Conventional sheet metal processing technology "cutting - punching - bending - welding" or "flame plasma cutting - bending - welding," are inefficient. For orders of multiple varieties, small batches, customization, high quality, and short delivery time, it shows obvious incompatibility. As an alternative to "cutting-punching", the laser cutting process has the characteristics of high flexibility, and is often used to manufacture complex or special-shaped workpieces and samples (single piece or minimum batch orders).


3. The disadvantages of traditional sheet metal processing


Traditional sheet metal cutting equipment occupies a considerable share of the market. Before the advent of laser cutting equipment, they made important contributions to the development of the sheet metal industry. However, compared with modern technologies such as laser cutting, it has obvious disadvantages, which greatly affects the competitiveness of enterprises.

(1) Traditional sheet metal blanking equipment mostly uses shearing machines, and shearing machines can only be used for straight cutting and cannot achieve cutting of complex shapes.

(2) Traditional sheet metal punching equipment mostly uses numerical control or turret punching machines, which limit the cutting of steel plates with a thickness greater than 1.5mm, and the cutting quality is not good, the cost is high, and it is not conducive to environmental protection.

(3) Flame cutting, as the original traditional cutting method, is only suitable for rough processing, and the cutting quality is low, the efficiency is low, and it is easy to produce waste.

(4) Plasma cutting is similar to flame cutting, it will produce large thermal deformation when cutting thin steel plate, and the slope is also large. It cannot be used when the accuracy requirements are relatively high, and the cost is relatively high.

The advantages of laser cutting


4. The advantages of laser cutting


(1) Laser cutting has the advantages of high flexibility, fast cutting speed, high production efficiency and short production cycle. Regardless of whether it is a simple shape or a complex shape, laser cutting can be quickly formed at one time.

(2) The cutting gap is narrow, the surface cutting quality is good, and the precision is high, which is suitable for precision machining.

(3) Simple operation, high degree of automation and low labor intensity can reduce labor costs.

(4) It can realize cutting automatic layout and nesting, automatically optimize the cutting path, and improve the material utilization rate.

(5) No tool wear, low maintenance and use costs.


5. Laser cutting and punching compound machine


5.1 The new trend of sheet metal processing technology


Although the laser cutting machine has absolute advantages over traditional CNC equipment in terms of cutting accuracy and medium and thick plate cutting, there are still limitations in the realization of certain special processes in the sheet metal processing industry. Such as blinds, shallow drawing, countersinking, flanging holes, reinforcing ribs, and embossing process requirements cannot be achieved. In order to solve this limitation, the laser punching compound machine came into being.


The early-manufactured punch-laser cutting composite machines all used CO2 lasers. Due to the technical limitations and high cost of CO2 lasers, which affected the promotion and application of laser punching composite processing equipment, the application of such composite machines was rare.


The new trend of sheet metal processing technology


5.2 TRUMPF laser cutting and punching compound machine


With the development of laser technology, fiber laser generators have gradually replaced CO2 laser generators. The CNC punch fiber laser cutting composite processing technology overcomes the shortcomings of the early punch CO2 laser cutting composite processing. Compared with the early equipment, it has obvious advantages and has been rapidly promoted and applied.


6. Prospect


Laser processing has high efficiency and precision, and is not limited by materials. It is gradually replacing traditional manufacturing. Some industries have entered the stage of widespread promotion and practical application. However, due to the short development time of laser cutting technology, there are still some problems. The performance of the machine is subject to the technical bottlenecks of independent brand parts such as lasers, laser cutting heads, and control systems. Therefore, breaking through the technical bottleneck is essential to improve the performance of the whole machine.


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