The Laser Cutting Machine and Process – Elena

Beam Movement

Once the localized heating, melting, or vaporizing has started. The machine moves the area of material removal across the workpiece to produce the full cut. The machine achieves the movement either by adjusting the reflective mirrors, controlling the laser cutting head, or manipulating the workpiece. There are three different configurations for laser cutting machines. By the way in which the laser beam moves or moves over the material defines: moving material, flying optics, and hybrid laser cutting systems.

  • Moving Material:

    Moving material laser cutting machines feature a stationary laser beam and a movable cutting surface. The workpiece moves mechanically around the fixed beam to create the necessary cuts. This configuration allows for a uniform and consistent standoff distance and requires fewer optical components.

  • Flying Optics:

    Flying optics laser cutting machines feature a movable laser cutter head and a stationary workpiece. The cutting head moves the beam across the stationary workpiece in the X- and Y-axes to produce the necessary cuts. The flexibility of flying optics machines is suitable for cutting materials with variable thickness and sizes, as well as allowing for faster processing times. However, since the beam is continually moving, we must consider the changing beam length throughout the process.  Collimation (alignment of the optics) can control the changing beam length, using a constant beam length axis. Or employing an adaptive optics or capacitive height control system capable of making the necessary adjustments in real time.

  • Hybrid:

    Hybrid laser cutting machines offer a combination of the attributes found on moving material and flying optics machines. These machines feature a material handling table that moves on one axis (usually the X-axis) and a laser head that moves on another (usually the Y-axis). Hybrid systems allow for more consistent beam delivery. And reduced power loss and greater capacity per watt compared to flying optics systems.

Pulsed beams or continuous wave beams. The suitability of each depends on the properties of the material that we are ready to cut. And the requirements of the laser cutting applications. Pulsed beams are produced as short bursts of power output. While continuous wave beams are produced as continuous, high power output. We usually apply the former to scribing or evaporation cutting and is suitable for cutting delicate designs or piercing through thick materials. While the latter is suitable for high-efficiency and high-speed cutting applications.