Kern Laser Systems cut metal with ease
MILD STEEL / COLD ROLLED STEEL
Kern’s CO2 and fiber metal cutting machines are capable of laser cutting mild steel. A high-pressure air assist injects oxygen through the optics nozzle resulting in a clean and smooth cut.
Mild steel, or cold rolled steel, is one of the more commonly laser-cut materials in the industry. Laser cutting is a flexible, stress-free process that produces quality finished parts with little or no post-processing. Cutting begins when the metal is heated to its melting point, resulting in a clean edge and dross-free cut. Lasers create narrow kerf lines and achieve a highly accurate cut, resulting in minimal material waste.
Laser cutting can be used for a variety of metals, including mild steel. Starting with Kern’s CO2 lasers of 100 to 650 watts, mild steel can be cut at varying thicknesses up to .250″. Fiber lasers are available with up to 3kW’s of power and will process mild steel as thick as .375″.
Kern’s CO2 and fiber laser systems can be equipped with innovative metal cutting technology. The metal cutting option allows for accurate cutting of stainless steel, leaving a clean, dross free edge. Stainless steel up to .090″ can be processed with Kern’s largest 650W CO2 laser. For thicker applications, Kern’s FiberCELL is best utilized with cutting capabilities of up to .1875″ utilizing a 3kW laser.
Kern’s CO2 laser systems are able to etch directly onto the metal surface or leave a durable mark with the assistance of a marking spray such as Cermark.
Cutting of reflective metals, like aluminum, requires a pulsed laser of at least 250 watts. This allows adequate laser power to pierce through the metal and achieve a nice cut quality. Marking aluminum with a Kern laser system is also possible. A laser marking spray is used to leave a dark, durable mark on the surface of the metal. Cermark and Thermark are two laser marking sprays used on metal.
For more information on Kern’s metal cutting capabilities please visit our CO2 metal cutting page.
Etching of coated aluminum is a simple process that removes the top coat layer exposing the raw metal underneath. Anodized aluminum is an outstanding material used for laser etching. The anodized coating is heated by laser energy and evaporates, requiring little to no cleanup. Anodized aluminum results in a stunning final product. Insulated mugs, cell phone cases and baking pans are a couple of popular items that can be laser etched.
Whether laser cutting or laser etching anodized aluminum, Kern’s lasers are suited for a variety of applications to produce high-quality products.
The FiberCELL laser system has the capability to process a wide variety of metals, including copper. Copper is a highly reflective metal, therefore, making it troublesome for a lower wattage CO2 laser source to penetrate or pierce the material. However, the wavelength of the fiber laser is easily absorbed into the material making it an ideal way to process this material.
Brass is an alloy consisting of zinc and copper. High-power laser beams absorb into the metal, making it possible to cut brass. Laser systems are capable of cutting sheets of brass to a high yield, resulting in reduced material waste and optimal sheet usage. Laser-processing brass allows for clean cutting with air assist, which greatly reduces or eliminates dross.
CO2 lasers below 400 watts have a difficult time cutting this reflective metal. Kern’s 400 and 650 watt metal cutting system can cut most brass alloys up to .040″ and .048″, respectively. The FiberCELL 3kW system can cut up to .125″ brass.
Metalphoto, also known as photo anodized aluminum, can be cut to shape with Kern’s laser equipment. Applications for this material include nameplates, identification labels and equipment panels. The durability of Metalphoto allows it to be placed in environments where heat, abrasion, UV and chemicals may be present. Additionally, the Metalphoto product meets military specifications including MIL-STD-130N for Department of Defense UID data matrix barcode applications. Kern’s 650W metal cutting system is able to cut Metalphoto in thicknesses up to .063″.
Processed sheets of Metalphoto which contain an array of smaller tags can be cut to size accurately and precisely utilizing the k-vision camera system. Simply add registration dots to your artwork and the vision system will automatically adjust the cutting file to compensate for distortion and rotation in the Metalphoto sheet. The result is perfectly cut tags time and time again.
Titanium has a low density and is a strong lustrous, corrosion-resistant metal. This “space age metal” is used in a variety of industries and can be cut with a Kern metal cutting machine. A dark, consistent etch can be applied to the surface of this metal by using a marking spray or oxygen assist gas.