Tips For Choosing One Laser Metal Cutting Machine

Author: Geym

Mar. 07, 2024

Machinery


A laser cutting machine is a new type of equipment that uses a laser beam to cut metal materials. Compared with traditional water cutting,sawing, mechanical cutting, oxygen acetylene cutting torch, plasma cutting torch, and other metal processing methods, laser cutting is more precise, more flexible, larger in output, more environmentally friendly, and more energy-saving. With the development of laser technology, the power of laser sources has gradually increased, its functions have gradually increased, and the price of the machine has become more affordable. In recent years, the market for laser metal cutting machines has gradually increased, and more and more customers are choosing to use laser cutting machines to replace outdated machines to cut metal materials and elevate processing efficiency. So how to choose a laser cutting machine?GWEIKE, as a professional manufacturer with 19 years of experience in the production and sales of laser cutting machines, has listed some tips for you to choose a laser metal cutting machine. We hope we can help you choose a suitable metal laser metal cutting machine.

1. Clarify demands

Before choosing a suitable laser metal cutting machine, you must first clarify the type, thickness, and size of the metal materials you often need to cut, because these are the most important factors that affect your choice of cutting machine. In addition, the amount of cutting material and the required accuracy of processing materials are also important factors that affect the selection of laser cutting machines. Generally speaking, the more materials that need to be processed and the higher the accuracy requirements for the processed materials, the higher the quality requirements for the machine, and the higher the price of the machine will be.

2. Determine the format of the cutting machine first

After confirming the needs, we can first confirm the format of the cutting machine according to the size of the metal material that needs to be cut, and then select the laser cutting machine by selecting the appropriate cutting format. Once the format of the laser metal cutting machine is determined, you can greatly narrow the selection of laser cutting machines and save a lot of time selecting laser machines. If you need to process workpieces in batches, we recommend you try to choose a large cutting format. Because it takes a certain amount of time to replace the metal plates. Large-format machines can place more plates at one time, which reduces the time to replace the plates. You can produce more workpieces in a fixed amount of time. In addition, if the space and budget are sufficient, we recommend that you choose a dual-platform machine, which is more efficient. You can change the cutting material on another platform while the laser cutting machine is cutting the plate on one platform. This kind of platform saves the time of changing materials and greatly improves cutting efficiency.

(The picture below is GWEIKE's dual-platform laser metal cutting machine LF3015GA. It can complete the exchange of platforms within 15 seconds, greatly improving the cutting efficiency.)



3. Pay attention to the power and brand of the laser source

The laser source is the core component of the laser metal cutting machine. The power of the laser source determines the maximum thickness of the metal material that the entire laser cutting machine can cut. At the same time, the laser source is also an important factor that determines the cutting speed and cutting quality of the entire machine. The higher the laser source power of a laser cutting machine, the better the quality, the faster the machine's cutting speed, and the better the cutting quality. When choosing a laser metal cutting machine, you can send the material and thickness you need to cut to the sales staff and let them help you choose a suitable laser source. In addition, the quality of a laser source also largely determines the service life and experience of the machine. Therefore, choosing a laser brand with good quality and service is very important for a laser metal cutting machine. At present, due to the continuous development of the laser industry, the production threshold of laser sources has been lowered. Some small manufacturers have also begun to produce laser sources. The quality and after-sales service are difficult to guarantee. We recommend that you choose some big brand lasers such as IPG, RAYCUS, MAX, RECI, etc. They have rich laser production experience and a professional after-sales team that can guarantee product quality and after-sales service.

(The picture below is a picture of a commonly used IPG laser source)


4. Pay attention to the performance of the laser cutting head

The laser cutting head is a component used to process the laser beam emitted by the laser source and output the laser beam for material cutting. It directly determines the quality of laser cutting, so a good laser cutting head is very important for a laser metal cutting machine. Generally speaking, we recommend choosing a laser cutting head based on whether it has an automatic focusing function, the power of the laser source, compatibility with the laser source, dust resistance, and whether it can cut highly reflective materials. The cutting head with auto-focus can adjust the focus faster and more accurately, saving more time and improving cutting efficiency when cutting different thicknesses and materials. High-power lasers generate a lot of energy and may damage the laser head. In this case, a high-performance laser head needs to be selected based on the power of the laser to process the light emitted by the laser head. Since the manufacturers of laser source and laser cutting heads are generally different, you should pay attention to the compatibility of the laser cutting head when choosing a laser metal cutting machine. Regarding sealing, as a precision optical instrument, the sealing of the laser cutting head is particularly important. If dust enters the laser cutting head, it is likely to cause damage to the laser cutting head and the laser source. Therefore, when selecting a laser cutting head, the sealing of the laser head is an element that cannot be ignored. In addition, the type of cutting material also has a great influence on the type of cutting head selected. If you need to frequently cut highly reflective metal materials such as aluminum, copper, and gold, it is recommended to choose a special cutting head. This type of cutting head is more expensive, but the cutting effect is better.

(The picture below is a picture of a common laser-cutting head)


 


5. Confirm cutting accuracy

Generally speaking, the accuracy of laser cutting machines is very high. The accuracy of fiber laser cutting machines is within ±0.03mm, which can be suitable for processing most workpieces. But if you need to process particularly precise workpieces, you must pay attention to the accuracy of the laser cutting machine. The accuracy of the laser cutting machine is generally reflected in the repeat positioning accuracy (as shown in the picture below). The smaller the value, the higher the accuracy of the machine. In addition, you can judge the cutting accuracy of a machine from its accessories. The accuracy of a laser cutting machine equipped with a rack is higher than that of a laser cutting machine equipped with a ball screw. The better the rack, the higher the cutting accuracy of the entire machine. Besides,the laser metal cutting machine equipped with a reducer has better-cutting accuracy.



6. Choose a laser metal cutting machine with fast cutting speed

The speed of the laser metal cutting machine has a direct impact on production efficiency. The faster the cutting speed of the laser metal cutting machine, the more products can be produced per unit of time. Generally speaking, the factors that affect the cutting machine mainly include the laser, motor power, and the transmission mode of the machine. The impact of lasers on cutting speed has been explained in the section on laser selection. Now we mainly talk about the impact of motor and machine transmission methods on cutting speed. The movement of the cutting head of the laser cutting machine needs to be driven by a motor fixed on the beam (the picture below marks the position of the motor in the laser metal cutting machine), so the greater the motor power of the laser metal cutting machine, the faster the cutting speed of the laser cutting machine will be. In addition, you can also judge the efficiency of a laser cutting machine by its acceleration. The faster the acceleration, the faster the laser head moves per unit time. The shorter the time required to reach the maximum speed, the higher the cutting efficiency. In addition, the moving speed of the laser cutting head has a lot to do with the transmission mode of the whole machine. The precision and speed of rack-driven machines are better than those of ball screw-driven machines. When choosing a laser metal cutting machine, try to choose rack-driven machines.


7. Pay attention to the operability and functionality of the software

If the laser source is the heart of the laser cutting machine, then the software of the laser cutting machine is equivalent to the brain of the entire machine. For novices, software with simple operations and full functions is easier to use. For users who need to cut materials in batches and often need to process different types of materials and handle different complex graphics, it is very important to have good software. Good cutting software can help users process graphics faster and design cutting routes, efficiently utilize cutting materials, and reduce the waste of cutting materials. When selecting a laser cutting machine, you can judge the performance of the software by confirming with the manufacturer the functions of the software, such as whether it has flying cutting, automatic typesetting, and other functions. (The picture below is the interface of CYPCUT software, an efficient software commonly used for laser cutting machines. It is calculating the path.)


8. Pay attention to confirm the safety of the machine

Safety is something that must be paid attention to when choosing a laser metal cutting machine because lasers have ultra-high energy, and if the machine does not have a safety protection system, it can easily cause serious injury to the user. So how to check the safety of a machine? Firstly, we can determine whether the product has safety certificates such as CE and FDA. If the product has safety certificates, it can prove that it has passed the safety inspection of the European Union and the United States, and its safety can be guaranteed. Secondly, we can check whether there are safety signs emergency stop buttons, and other accessories on the machine. Emergency stop buttons are very important for handling emergencies. If a machine does not have an emergency stop button, it can be said to be completely unqualified. In addition, we recommend choosing a machine with a safety cover as much as possible. This kind of machine cover can not only block the optical radiation of the laser but also help control the exhaust gas emitted when the laser cutting machine processes metal, making it more friendly to the production environment.

(The picture below is a real shot of the emergency stop button and some safety signs of the GWEIKE LF3015GA model, as well as the machine's CE and FDA certificates)



 

9. Confirm the strength of suppliers

When selecting a laser metal cutting machine, it is also very important to determine the overall strength of the supplier. A good supplier can guarantee the quality of the machine and service. You can determine the strength of the supplier from the following aspects: 1. Whether the supplier has its factory and the size of the factory. Generally speaking, suppliers with independent factories have faster delivery times. The larger the factory scale, the more popular the machine is, the quality of the machine will be better. If possible, it is recommended to go to the factory for an on-site inspection.2. If they have experience in producing laser cutting machines. With the continuous development of the laser industry, more and more manufacturers of other industries have entered the laser industry and want a share of the pie. However, they are not professional enough in laser cutting production and do not have expertise in product development and processing. The quality of the machine produced is difficult to guarantee due to the problem of capacity. Third, whether there is an after-sales team. The laser cutting machine is a large-scale mechanical equipment, which has a certain degree of difficulty in operation and requires professional guidance. In addition, if there is a problem, it requires professional personnel to repair it. At this time, it is particularly important to have professional personnel who can help solve the problem. Fourth, whether there are safety certificates such as CE, FDA, etc. As mentioned before, the safety of laser cutting machines is very important. In addition, in some areas, if there is no professional safety certificate, it may be detained by the customs during import customs clearance. causing unnecessary losses.

We hope the above tips can help you better choose a laser metal cutting machine. If you have any questions about choosing a laser metal cutting machine, please contact us directly. Our professional sales and engineers will provide the solutions according to your demands.



Any industry that has to do with manufacturing is undoubtedly in need of a cutting tool for its production level. While conventional forms of cutting may perform well, laser cutting offers a safer, more efficient, and more reliable process that rises in line with the growing demand for manufacturing and production. 


A lot of industries have adopted laser cutting as a fundamental process. Due to its increasing demand, the global laser cutting machines market expects considerable growth later in the decade. 


Investing in a metal laser cutting machine should be well-thought-out because the purchase of the right or wrong tool for your plant can forever change the outcome of your work. Considering all available options with the help of a professional can minimize any regrets in the future.


To further understand the importance of this machine, we will do a walkthrough of what’s behind this technology, its benefits, and how to choose the right one for your site. 

 

How does a metal laser cutting machine operate? 

Laser cutting is a thermal-based procedure in which a focused laser beam melts a highly targeted material area. Laser cutting machines melt the surface of a workpiece and finally evaporate the particular debris area using the energy released by it. This technique can deal with every type of material, whether steel, nickel, tungsten, aluminium, brass or reflective metals like gold and silver. 

 

Computer numerical control in metal laser cutting machines

One of the reasons this method is a winner in production sites is the integration of computer numerical control. CNC converts the design produced by computer-aided design software (CAD) into numbers. The numbers serve as a map for the movements of the cutter. This type of pre-programming is the reason for the notorious high accuracy these machines have because this process leaves nothing to spontaneity and serves the utmost precision. 


Upon activating a CNC system, the desired cuts are programmed into the software and dictated to similar tools and machinery, which carry out the dimensional tasks specified robotically. Professional programmers write and edit the code of CNC programs. Another CNC advantage is that adding new prompts can to pre-existing programs through revised code, so they work with more than just one formula.  


According to the latest reports on the matter, the global CNC metal laser cutting machine market generated $69.96 billion in 2018 and is estimated to reach $113.50 billion by 2026.


CNC and manufacturing design 

For a long time, manufacturers have been searching for making the manufacturing process more comfortable and more efficient by verifying that they can develop the design early on in the process. 


Design for manufacturing aims is to reduce the complexity of designs and prevent complications in the manufacturing process. Usually, the more complex a model, the more difficult it is to manufacture, and more costs come with it. However, the development of laser cutting has made the manufacturing of complex products easier and faster. Rather than simplifying the product itself, laser cutters have simplified the process of manufacturing it. 


Cost and quality are two primary triggers on the marketability of any product, and a metal laser cutting machine allows for the high-quality and good price to go hand in hand. They also allow for more flexibility in product development processes. Lasers cut every material in any shape or form, making producers more open-minded and offering them more options in conceptual work. In many cases, the precision cuts made by the lasers require little to no post-cut processing, which also speeds up the manufacturing process and eliminates downtime.


Types of metal laser cutting machines

The market segment by type is made of:

  • CO2 Laser Cutting Machines
  • Fibre Laser Cutting Machines
  • YAG Cutting Machines

Two types of lasers currently make up most of the industrial manufacturing market: COCO2 and fibre lasers. COCO2 lasers are the traditional metal fabricating machine of the previous two decades. On the other hand, the fibre laser made its debut around 2008. It has lower operating costs, has a higher delivery rate than CO2 lasers and can cut reflective materials.

There are mainly three types of laser cutting machines in use, according to their production technique:

  • Moving materials machine - Materials move, and the laser beam remains stationary.
  • Flying optic machine - The laser beam is moveable, and it’s paired with stationery materials.
  • Hybrid configuration machine - A combination of both systems.  


But what are precisely the benefits of this technology, and how complicated is the decision-making process for picking a metal laser cutting machine that will work for you? Before making the final move, you must consider questions like:

  • How much will an in-house laser cutting machine increase productivity? 
  • How does it affect lead times? 
  • Will there be a significant shift in quality and delivery?
  • How would it help your company’s image? 
  • Where should you buy the laser cutting machine?

Let us help you with our detailed guide for more information on the matter some of the benefits.

After providing an in-depth explanation of metal laser cutting machines, it's time to get specific. After tackling some countless benefits of this technique, now we will describe them further and what they can do for your business. 


Keep in mind that a metal laser cutting machine is a long-term commitment. This equipment lasts from eight to ten years, and almost every manufacturer keeps the same device for at least seven years. So, no mistakes are tolerable in the making of this settlement.  


Benefits of metal laser cutting machine

Precision

The accuracy and precise nature of cutting are some of the most significant benefits that lasers have brought. It allows for a clean-cut and smooth finish. 

Waste reducing

Metal laser cutting machines allow for cutting on a much smaller and narrower material area, with significantly reduced heat waste and scraps.

Versatility

A single laser has various uses, allowing the cut of different materials in different ways. You can use one cutting laser for processes such as engraving, marking, and drilling.

Non-contact process

The beam that shoots the laser doesn't physically touch the material that it is working on. This method minimizes the damage to the material, and you can avoid costly repair and maintenance schedules for parts that contact the work surface.

Low power consumption 

It is an essential advantage in a world looking to work smarter by increasing production while lowering costs. Other cutting processes use up to five times more kW power than a laser cutting machine. 

Safety

With the need for increased production comes the need for more safety measures too. Metal laser cutting machines are a much more reliable method than other cutting processes due to their advanced programming system. 

No tooling costs

Laser cutting doesn't require any hard tools. So, there is no need for tool storage, changeover, and sharpening. This reduces downtime between jobs and inefficiencies in the long run as well.

Flexible

Laser cutting easily adapts to ever-changing manufacturing demands, both in terms of production volume and market needs. The equipment used for laser cutting can be set up and repurposed for specific requirements. 


Which metal laser cutting machine is the right choice for me?

Before making any decisions, there are some things to keep in mind regarding the type of machine you will invest in:

Machine Structure

Make sure you've understood the materials that build the machine and its processes. The robust make of the structure will define the overall capability of the device to take vibrations and load. 

Workload levels

You should think of the amount of cutting you are planning to do with your laser cutting machine. The bed size of the laser machine determines the amount of work you can accomplish with it. The bigger the size, the more you can get done. As the bed size is a permanent feature, you cannot change it later, so you'll have to think it through. 

Optics quality

The performance and quality of the laser machine largely depend on the quality of the optics. An essential part of the process is the focusing of laser optic. It is necessary to focus the laser beam after a certain number of duty cycles. Some machines do it mechanically, while for some others, you have to do it manually. Talk with an expert or different manufacturers about this crucial feature.  

User convenience

The laser cutting machine you are about to purchase should have an easy-to-follow user's manual. This way, you can understand how to operate the machine and how to cover maintenance. Don't forget to ask about the machine's software program and interface before deciding on buying one.


Return on Investment

As a business, understandably, the main reason you are planning to make these changes is profitability. After operating with a metal laser cutting machine, it's typical not to notice significant results for around 2-3 years. Knowing that these machines have a long life span, they are very beneficial in the long run. 


Overall Equipment Effectiveness

OEE metrics calculate the percentage of manufacturing time that is genuinely productive. With Overall Equipment Effectiveness, you will gain essential insights on how to improve your manufacturing process systematically. OEE is the standard for identifying losses, benchmarking progress, and eliminating waste.

 

Compatibility

We have highlighted the importance of adaptability that new machines will have with the rest of the plant. It is of high importance to discuss with a trusted professional about customizing the different types of technologies in your factory at its best.  Run trials on several machines, at the same speed, on the same thickness of the material. This way, you'll be able to decide which machine offers the best quality. 


Even though you might be very engaged in making these alterations, honest assistance is undeniably necessary. When meeting with your personal guide, make sure to ask every question that is useful for your decision, witness a preliminary demonstration and decide on the right fit for you. 




Tips For Choosing One Laser Metal Cutting Machine

What to consider before buying a metal laser cutting machine....

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