Metal Cutting Laser
SHEET METAL LASER CUTTING EQUIPMENT
METAL LASER CUTTER
Kern’s laser systems can be equipped with innovative metal cutting technology. The metal cutting option allows for accurate cutting of sheet metal such as stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum, copper and brass.
An Automatic Focusing Height Follower, developed by Kern Laser Systems, is one of the key elements for optimal metal cutting. The cutting nozzle is controlled by a capacitance sensor and z-axis motor. The gap between the metal being cut and the cutting nozzle can be adjusted until the desired beam focus is obtained. As the cutting process begins, the height follower will track the surface of the metal and adjust the nozzle in the z axis maintaining a constant focus point while the metal is being cut.
A protective cover lens is installed within the lens assembly. These lenses are a low cost, sacrificial optic which help to protect the focusing lenses from reflected laser energy, dust and debris. We refer to these cover lenses as a K-Lens on our CO2 machines and a F-Lens on our fiber systems.
The metal cutting table is constructed of durable steel grid work which minimizes the surface contact with the bottom of the metal being cut. The CAD cutting file for the individual grids is saved onto the systems computer and replacements can be cut on the laser system.
Advanced metal cutting features in the KCAM Laser Software allows for complete control of the metal cutting process. A laser pierce delay is available ensuring the laser pierces through the metal before the motion of the cut begins. The nozzle air pressure can be set independently for the laser dwell, normal laser cutting and jog between parts. The laser’s modulation frequency can be set from 500 – 50,000 Hz to achieve a dross free cut which eliminates the need for a secondary deburring process.
Kern’s metal cutters are not just a laser with an adjustable z-axis. The mechanics and software have been designed specifically for cutting metal. Here are a few features that set us apart from the competition:
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 4 kW’s of power and will process mild steel as thick as 1/2″.
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 1/4″ 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 300 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.
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 500 watts have a difficult time cutting this reflective metal. Kern’s 500 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 .1875″ brass.
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.