This section introduces laser processing-based laser cutting through examples.
- Basic principles of cutting using laser markers
- Laser cutting example — Laser cutting of electric wire coating
- Basic principles of etching using laser markers
- Etching example — Creating perforations on film
- Recommended models for laser cutting, organised by material
Basic principles of cutting using laser markers
Laser cutting involves cutting and evaporating the surface of a material using a laser.
Generally, non-laser-based cutting involves using a die or blade. Because these are contact-type methods, there is always a risk of distortion occurring during processing. Laser cutting, on the other hand, is non-contact, so the risk of distortion or the like is minimal. This makes laser cutting suitable for processing such targets as thin plates and films.
Laser cutting example — Laser cutting of electric wire coating
Conventional methods for cutting the coating of electric wire involve contact-type cutting using a knife. Such methods are difficult to adjust and carry the risk of damaging the core wire. In addition, the cutting blade must be replaced periodically to maintain sharpness, thereby increasing running costs.
Because CO2 lasers are not absorbed by metal (and instead reflected), there is no need to worry about accidentally cutting the core wire. The ability to reliably cut only the outer film means fewer defective targets and improved quality.
When processing a coaxial cable, the coating is cut using a CO2 laser that is not absorbed by the metal, while the inner and outer conductors of the microfabricated metal are cut using an ideal YVO4 laser. In this way, simultaneous processing is possible by taking advantage of the various characteristics of each laser.
In addition, using a mirror finished surface such as an SUS material makes it possible to reflect the laser light in order to cut both the back and front of the electric wire at the same time. This allows both back and front processing to be completed in one step, drastically reducing takt time and allowing for improved production efficiency.
Basic principles of etching using laser markers
The ability to flexibly change the output and scanning speed of a laser makes it possible to make cuts, incisions, or grooves into a target at varying depths. The label processing example below uses a low laser output for marking and a high laser output around the marking for shallow cuts.
Etching example — Creating perforations on film
One of the best examples of shallow cutting is the perforation made on bags and other products for easier tearing by hand. Conventional methods involve using a cutting blade to make shallow cuts, but this presents various problems such as difficulty with adjustments and time required for changing settings between product types. This method also requires the blade to be replaced periodically, thereby increasing running costs, and there is always a risk of the blade breaking off into the bag.
Advantages of laser processing
The lack of consumable components helps reduce costs and improve productivity.
With non-contact laser processing, running costs can be drastically reduced thanks to the elimination of maintenance and replacement of worn parts required with conventional methods. In addition, because parts do not wear out and adversely affect processing quality, stable processing can be ensured, and productivity improvements are possible.
Support for varying product sizes and 3D shapes
Using a 3D laser marker makes it possible to set the focal distance anywhere up to 42 mm. This eliminates the need for focusing using lifting equipment for the marking head unit or using receiving jigs for each type of target. Not only does this contribute greatly to reductions in installation costs, it also reduces time spent on changeovers.
- Conventional method
- 3D laser marker