Laser cutting of steels requires a focused beam to less than 0.5mm with an extremely high power density that melts the material, and then an assist gas which covers and protects the melt zone, sweeps away the molten metal, giving a very narrow kerf with minor thermal deformation. The laser cutting process gives high precision cutting and a very narrow heat affected zone. Laser cutting is very suitable for all steels but is generally limited to a maximum thickness of 30mm today with the most efficient cutting in the range 0.5 to 10mm.
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Due to the very narrow kerf and minor heat deformation this method allows the cutting of small holes, fine details and complex shapes with excellent tolerances on today’s advanced machines. Even standard laser cutting machines today usually feature CNC control for 3D laser cutting, with the possibility to cut angles for weld preparations whilst cutting a complex series of holes and the external part profile. Most common is the traditional CO2 laser but new generation fiber lasers are now becoming the industry standard for thinner steel sheet cutting due to the lower operating costs and high cutting speeds.
The assist gas used can be active or inactive gas, and these are jetted into the laser beam melt pool area by special nozzles. Active gas like Oxygen produces an exothermic reaction at the melt pool adding to the efficiency of the laser but resulting in an oxidized edge. An Inactive gas which is an inert gas and most commonly Nitrogen, Helium, Argon and/or CO2, which reduce the cutting speed but give superior edge quality.
Laser cutting is the best recommended cutting method for thinner gauges demanding high geometric tolerances for cutting shapes and profiles within <0,5mm tolerance
SSAB Shape can offer laser cutting services from our own centers globally and in addition we have a service partner network that can be utilized. Our offer includes:
In many of our service centers we have the possibility to combine laser cutting of parts with other metal processing methods, for example press bending, to fulfil your complete requirements.