The Advantages of Laser Cutting Metal

Dickmann Manufacturing Company has offered metal laser cutting services for over 15 years at our manufacturing facility in Grafton, Wisconsin. We use our Co2 laser cutter to cut through flat sheet materials like stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum, heavy plate and other metal types. The laser cutting process works by directing the output of a high-powered laser through a CNC (computer numerical control) or G-code. The CNC is used to direct the laser beam along the material which melts and burns it away. In return, a final product is produced or prepared for a subsequent manufacturing process.

Laser Cutting Advantages

Laser cutting has been advantageous compared to other traditional cutting forms since it has been introduced. On mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum the laser cutting process is highly accurate, provides excellent cut quality, has a very small kerf, (width of the cut or groove) has a small heat affect zone, and makes it possible to cut very detailed shapes and small holes or lines. Learn about more of the advantages of laser cutting below.

Clean Cut Edges 

The precision levels and edge quality achieved with laser cutting are much better than traditional cutting methods, as a laser beam will not wear during the cutting process. You can look at a laser beam as a very small cutting tool. Because the laser utilizes a much more focused spot, less heat is put into the sheet metal and removes a narrower path of material. This is also known as the heat affect zone. This allows the laser to cut more precise parts to a higher tolerance and with cleaner edges.

No Warping 

Due to the high processing speeds of a laser, resulting in a small heat affect  zone, and contactless material processing, there is minimal workpiece distortion or warping that comes with laser cutting. This in return gives you a high quality sheet metal product.

No Tooling Costs

Laser cutting does not require any hard tooling as a punch press or shear does. It is a very "lean" manufacturing method eliminating the need for tool changeover, tool storage and tool sharpening maintenance. Because no hard-tooling is required, laser technology enables us to cut detailed shapes at similar or faster speeds than other cutting methods.

Material Scrap Savings

Due to a cutting tool needing material on either side of a cut, a border of a 1/2" or sometimes more is required, resulting in scrap. For a laser, if parts share a common cutting line, they can be cut with single cut, which reduces scrap. Cutting techniques like nesting, lead-ins and lead-outs and tabbing on a laser are some other ways to save scrap while utilizing this process.

Fast Setup Times

Because there is no hard-tooling involved in laser cutting, setup times are dramatically decreased. Tool changeover and maintenance for a punch press equals time and more time equals an increase in cost. The only setup time involved in laser cutting is the loading of material and machine programming, which is efficient and cost-friendly.

Endless Customization

The beauty of laser cutting is the endless customization opportunities it offers. It is the perfect process for cutting very detailed shapes and holes no matter how big or small they may be. If you can dream it, a laser cutter can most likely make your design come true. 

Running Rev Change

As your product evolves, several changes will need to take place in the design. Laser cutting gives you the advantage of making changes to your part designs very easily. If a certain shape needs to be cut larger or line needs to be cut narrower, changes can be made directly in the programming without any tool change.


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