Is a Laser Processing Machine the Right Manufacturing Solution for Your Business?
If you’re in the manufacturing industry and you’ve been looking for newer and more cost-efficient technology to add to your business assets, then you may be considering to purchase a laser processing machine. However, maybe you’re not quite sure if it’s actually the right solution for you, and you might be experiencing some difficulty making a final decision in that regard. This is understandable, as a laser processing machine can be quite a major investment. There’s also the fact that procuring the wrong kind of equipment can be detrimental to your finances.
As such, to help you in figuring out whether a laser processing machine is the right manufacturing solution for your business, we’ve put together the following list of advantages you stand to gain with procuring one, as well as any disadvantages that you’ll have to consider.
High degree of precision
Laser processing equipment with linear stages produce highly accurate linear motions that allow the laser head to be moved—up, down, left, right, forward, and back—with optimum precision. This ensures that the procedures it does, whether it’s cutting, boring, or engraving, will be done error-free with pinpoint accuracy.
No-contact cutting or processing
Since a laser is simply highly concentrated light, this means that any cutting or processing done by it involves absolutely no direct physical contact with the workpiece. This allows for very clean and smooth machining, reducing the need for any post-processing polishes. What’s more, the fact that there is zero friction involved means that the wear and tear usually associated with physical machining is also eliminated, cutting down on costly repair and maintenance expenses.
Decreased risk of material warping
Conventional processing methods generate a lot of friction, and as such, also generate quite a bit of diffuse heat. This heat can easily warp the material being processed. In laser processing, however, the heat is focused only on a very small and specific spot, leaving the rest of the workpiece alone. This decreases the risk of the material being warped or deformed.
Reduced power consumption costs
Any manufacturing business will always be looking to reduce costs, and a laser processing machine can help with that, due to the fact that it only uses around 10 kilowatts of power. Meanwhile, other machining equipment usually consumes around 50 kilowatts. Of course, this depends on the model you purchase, as well as the type of processing job you have for it, but it will be generally lower than other
A laser processing machine can work with many different kinds of materials, even those too soft or too brittle to undergo conventional machining methods, such as paper, ceramic, rubber, plastic, wood, and soft metals. Furthermore, thanks to their highly precise nature, a laser processing machine can also be used to create highly complex and artistic designs on a workpiece quickly and easily.
Processing, cutting, or machining with lasers will always be much safer than conventional processing methods, as there is less moving parts involved. Moreover, the processing laser is usually enclosed in a light tight box, preventing any employee from accidentally coming into contact with the laser. There’s also the fact that laser processing machines are controlled by computer programs rather than manual labor, further decreasing any risk of workplace injury.
Less space requirements
Manufacturing businesses with space concerns will be served well with a laser processing machine, as its versatility allows it to perform the functions of many different cutting and processing machines. As such, any space limitations are immediately addressed.
Requires adequate ventilation
Processing with a laser, especially if the material being processed is plastic, will result in potentially toxic fumes. This is caused by the intense pinpoint heat that facilitates the cutting action through focused melting. As such, any manufacturing business that uses a laser processing machine will have to invest in proper ventilation infrastructure, as well as protective breathing gear for their employees.
Proper preparation of workpieces required
A laser processing machine needs to be properly calibrated for every different material it is tasked to process. If not, this could lead to the material burning or being discolored, especially in the case of certain metals.
Inability to process certain materials
Despite its versatility, there are materials that a laser processing machine cannot reliably handle, such as copper and aluminum. So if your manufacturing company regularly deals with such materials, then this type of processing equipment may not be the right fit for you.
A laser processing machine offers certain manufacturing advantages that you can’t get from any other tool: extreme precision, no-contact processing, versatility, and many more. There’s also the fact that it can do the job of many other processing machines, allowing you to save on resources as well as space. While it does have certain disadvantages that you may have an issue with, we feel that these are still outweighed by the benefits we listed above. If nothing else, it’s a great and useful addition to your manufacturing assets.