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What are the Different Types of Laser Cutting Machines?

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  • Written By: N. Kalu
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2016
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There are three main types of laser cutting machines used in the manufacturing industry. They include moving material machines, flying optics machines, and hybrid configuration machines. Different sorts of lasers can be used with any one of these types. Laser cutting machines are typically used to lacerate flat sheet material or piping material used in many industrial projects.

Moving material is one machine configuration used in laser cutting. In moving material machines, the laser beam remains stationary while the material is moved using an automatically mobile surface located beneath the laser. The advantage of using this type of machine is that the opening of the laser and the surface of the material are kept apart at a constant distance. While this machine uses fewer optics, it is also among the slowest options.

A flying optics machine configuration is the fastest option. These type of machines feature a movable laser beam paired with stationary material. The laser beam is capable of moving along both the x and y axes of the material, which contributes to the machine's fast completion time. One disadvantage of the flying optics option is that the constant mobility of the laser head leads to a constantly changeable beam length. This can be adjusted by aligning the optics or by using tools specially designed to keep the distance between the laser opening and material constant.

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Hybrid configuration, another standard configuration of laser cutting machines, combines features from both moving material and flying optics machines. In hybrids, a table moves along the x-axis of movement while the laser head moves along the y-axis. This combination of movement leads to a more constant laser stream than flying optics machines can deliver. The hybrid also leads to less loss of power and more energy efficiency than flying optics.

In addition to these three primary machine configurations, laser cutting machines come with different types of lasers. The three primary types of lasers are the neodymium laser, the neodymium yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser, and the CO2 laser. The neodymium laser is suitable for high energy and less frequent boring situations. Neodymium yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser is better suited for boring, trimming, and engraving jobs that require a great deal of energy.

The CO2 laser is the most popular and can handle boring, cutting, and engraving of materials. There are many variants of these sort of lasers depending on the kind of industrial work that is being done. CO2 laser cutting machines are used to cut a wide variety of materials, including stainless steel, titanium, fabric, and plastic.

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