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SSC Laser
26th October 2020

The Basics of Laser Cutting

When you think of the word “laser” you might think of something from a futurist science fiction film or Netflix series. However, laser cutting has been around for a while and you are surrounded by laser cut parts and components every day. From parts in your car to decorative signage and panels, laser cutting aids thousands of manufacturers. Laser cutting also helps with the production of vital components that you wouldn’t really realise without thinking.

Laser cutting by its nature can be very complex and hard to understand all the complexities of how it works. With this in mind, we’ve put together this blog covering some of the basics of laser cutting to help give you a better understanding of the service and how it can benefit you and your business/project.

Let’s start with the word laser. Did you know that laser is actually an acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation?

What is laser cutting?

Laser cutting is the process of cutting materials, in the case of SSC Laser, metal, into different shapes using highly accurate and precise machinery. Laser cutting is a fast process compared to other methods of machining and cutting. It is highly versatile and can produce components and parts to a wide range of designs, shapes and sizes.

How does laser cutting work?

The process works by directing a laser beam at the material that you wish to cut. The focused laser beam results in rapid heating of the area it is applied to, and then the energy vaporises the material. As the laser head moves, it cuts the metal into the desired shape.

To produce laser cut parts, we follow the following steps;

  1. Once your order is signed off, we ensure the order is correctly inputted on our Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) system. The last thing you want to do is find an error with your component after it has been manufactured. Don’t worry if you haven’t got artwork files for your design, we have an expert team who can support you in creating your design in the desired format for laser cutting.
  2. After we have checked your order off, the CAD team get to work checking over the drawing files. They assess the drawings (dxf, dwg, step or iges files) as to what needs doing and ensure the file is clean and good to go. Is it flat, is it folded, is it tube laser? Dependant on what is required, they make any necessary adjustments and changes to ensure when the machines get to work, everything will be cut perfectly and to the correct tolerances. Every metal has different properties and as such, need different settings to work to the maximum potential.
  3. The parts are then nested on to a sheet or if it’s tube/box section on to a bar and sent down to the machines, where the production process starts.
  4. Your components are then laser cut. Our machines set about their work, creating stunning shapes and components with beautiful sparks flying with operators doing all the necessary quality checks to ensure you receive everything you are expecting.
  5. Once your job is finished, we double-check for any visual quality issues and make sure that the components are up to standard and check the quantities are correct.
  6. Now your job is ready to ship, so we package your components up with full paperwork, test certificates and labelling (they even have images of your parts) and send them to you ready for manufacturing, assembly or sale.
  7. Our relationship doesn’t end there. After you have taken delivery of your components, we will give you a quick call to make sure everything is ok and to standard.

What can I laser cut?

With the introduction of modern laser cutting technology, we are now able to cut a wide range of metals in various different shapes as sizes. As laser cutting technology advanced, so did the capabilities available to subcontractors, such as SSC Laser. SSC Laser is able to also laser cut tube, box section, angle and channel on our multi-axis 3D tube laser.

At SSC Laser, we also operate the most up-to-date, top of the range 10kW fiber laser cutting machines. These machines mean that we can even cut highly reflective metals such as copper and brass that the majority of CO2 lasers cannot.

For a full list of metals we laser cut and their properties, check out one of our blogs on the subject.

The advantages of laser cutting

Laser cutting is a fantastic method of cutting a wide range of materials to shapes and sizes.

In no particular order;

  1. It is fast – once you have your design set, you can cut your components and parts in minutes. The process doesn’t require any jigging and tooling and can be completed without having to stop and start. This enables businesses to optimise JIT stock strategies.
  2. It is precise – very few other fabrication methods can offer such precision. Laser cutting can guarantee that every component of the production line is the same as each other. Perfect for when you are wanting to produce a part or component on mass.
  3. It is efficient –- with the utilisation of laser cutting technology we can produce parts with tabbing and slotting completed. This enables businesses to increase their productivity when it comes to the manufacturing and assembly of their products
  4. It is functional across different sectors – laser cutting isn’t just utilised for the engineering sector alone. SSC provide parts and components for a wide range of industries. To view the full range of industries, we support click here
  5. It is cost-effective – as laser cutting requires significantly less setup time and can manufacture thousands of components at a time, it is very cost-effective when compared to other fabrication methods.

If you have any questions regarding laser cutting or if you have an upcoming project that requires a laser cutting sub-contractor, contact the friendly team at SSC Laser today. Our team are on hand to help you whatever the size of your project or intricacies of your design.

T: 01889 270241

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