Why Laser Cut?
Laser cutting on a state of the art machine has the edge over other competing processes:
ECONOMY The high speed of the new generation laser cutting machines approach or even surpass that of CNC punching while water jet is not even close. With extremely high positioning and cutting speeds, part output per hour is higher than ever resulting in lower part costs. With no tooling costs and advanced software, low quantities or frequent design changes are economical to implement.
FREEDOM A laser cutter will cut any two dimensional shape you desire in steel, stainless steel, aluminum and more, and is not bound by the shape or physics of a punching tool. Because a laser cuts with a narrow 0.25mm beam of light and is a non-contact process, you have the freedom to leave very thin sections between cutouts or have small diameter holes and narrow slots not possible with punching. You can also cut pre hardened steel that would destroy standard punch tooling.
ACCURACY As there is no cutting force and very little heat, there's also very little distortion. There is more distortion from the release of internal stresses already present in the material than there is from the laser cutting process itself. The positioning and cutting consistency allows a modern laser to hold a ±0.05mm part tolerance on thinner gauge material and even better in some cases.
Thicker material that would normally be plasma or flame cut (1/2" steel plate for example), can be cut much more accurately with a laser. The very thin "skin" left allows taps to run cleanly thru laser cut holes eliminating the need for tap drilling afterwards. The much squarer edge and part precision allows for much easier fitting for welding. Layout lines can even be "scribed " on the plate or intelocks can be cut for precise and efficient fitting for assembly.
APPEARANCE On laser cut parts, you won't see the unsightly "nibble" marks and top edge rounding you normally see in CNC punching. Only a small edge radius is left on both sides of the material which usually eliminates the need for secondary edge treatment before safe handling or fitting. The edges of laser cut parts are squarer than that of a punched or plasma cut part and have smooth even surfaces that are pleasing to the eye. The lack of induced heat also allows cosmetic material to be laser cut with the protective film left on thus protecting the part during post operations.