If you need to cut out sheet metal to manufacture your product, then you might have a few options for processing. Some of the factors you should consider include the material thickness and type and the part geometry. There are a few differences between fiber laser cutting and traditional methods that you should know.
Popular types of traditional techniques are shearing-types of cutting. These include EDM, waterjet, plasma, lasers, as well as punching. Waterjet cutting came out in the 1930s, while plasma and EDM cutting came out in the 1960s. But steel laser cutting came out in the 1970s. Today, laser cutting is one of the most popular methods of cutting metal. With shearing-type cutting, a company can cut out the entire piece from the sheet of metal at once by using mechanical force. With profile cutting techniques, the cutting source will draw the geometry with a tool similar to using a pen. EDM, lasers, waterjet, and plasma are all examples of profile cutting techniques.
Punching Cutting Methods
It can be quick and easy to use punch cutting since you can carve out the whole geometry of the piece with only one hit. But it also requires a lot of money for the tooling upfront. This means you need to be making a batch large enough to justify the cost.
Plus, the mechanical forces for punching might get limited by geometrical features, like thin webs. Some shops with an agile environment might not want to use punch cutting because of the geometrical limitations. They might need to remove burrs after the process.
On the other hand, with profile cutting, you can use soft tooling to change the design without much more cost. This leads to more flexibility for manufacturers for small or medium production. They can keep their low-volume customers, especially if they might need mass-production in the future.
Sheet metal laser cutting has led the way to industrial lasers being more affordable. It is cost-effective for many companies, and there have been advances in automation recently. These have changed the way that companies mass produce sheet metal compared to metal punching.
A lot of companies have used laser cutting to complement the process during mass production. Others have replaced their old punching machines with laser cutting ones.
Choose the Best Sheet Metal Laser Cutting Today
The costs of different cutting projects can vary depending on what you need to get done. But because of how reliable and fast steel laser cutting is, it often comes ahead of many other processes. If you want to know more about whether this process is right for you, feel free to reach out to Weldflow Metal Products today.