Although laser cutting machines can be widely used in the processing of various metal and non-metal materials. However, some materials, such as copper, aluminum, and their alloys, are not easily processed by laser cutting because of their own characteristics (high reflectivity). Among them, special attention is required when using laser cutting machines of aluminum plate.
At present, fiber lasers and YAG lasers is widely used in aluminum laser cutting. Both of these devices perform well in cutting aluminum materials or cutting other materials, such as stainless steel and carbon steel.
Because aluminum is a highly reflective material, neither the fiber laser cutter nor the YAG laser cutter can process thick aluminum. Generally the maximum thickness of 16mm can be cut by using 6000W, 12mm can be cut by using 4500W, but processing costs is high.
In addition, because the aluminum material is not resistant to high temperatures during laser cutting processing, it is easy to get burr on work pieces. And it is necessary to control the process for obtaining the desired cutting quality. Cutting speed also needs to be controlled, it is also easy to produce burrs if cutting speed is too fast, while too slow cutting speed will make aluminum material cracks, which affects the cutting quality. In general, the cutting speed of the fiber laser cutting machine is higher than that of the YAG laser cutting machine on the condition of same power.
Although laser cutting machine processing cost is very low, far less than other cutting processes. And generally speaking, the cost of fiber laser cutting is lower than that of YAG laser cutting machine (the latter one needs frequent replacement of the laser light accessories). However, aluminum is a highly reflective material and has low absorption of laser light. Therefore, the laser energy is easily reflected on the cutting head, which makes the protective lens and the nozzle become hot. It will directly break off the lens, which greatly reduces the lifetime of the laser equipment. Therefore, considering the maintenance and repairing costs, YAG is less expensive than fiber laser cutting machines on cost.
Finally, aluminum laser cutting is also easy to affect the health of cutting workers during processing. Laser protective glasses must be worn to protect their safety during processing .
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