Before laser cutting begins, a few questions have to be asked, to answer the question about the possible quality after the cutting process is completed. We bring you the advice of one of the renowned experts in the area of laser metal cutting.


Regular maintenance is the key to laser cutting quality

To make the cut as good as possible, the laser cutter requires regular service and cleaning.

However, many companies forget about the importance of regular maintenance. One of the leading experts for laser metal cutting, Brent Donner, brings a few questions that need to be asked before the cutting begins, in order to ensure satisfactory cutting quality.

Otherwise, Donner is a long-time consultant with great experience in laser cutting projects. During the visits to numerous companies that asked for his opinion, he noted the three major failures that laser cutter operators are doing.

Before each laser cutting project, three most important questions must be asked, in order to ensure that the quality of the project implemented is as good as it can be.


Are the laser cutter lenses cleaned in the prescribed manner?

Cutting lenses are one of the most important parameters that affect the quality of the cut. Since during the cutting, processes that can lead to the formation of layers on the lens, which reduces the quality of the cut occur, the operator has to clean the lens after a certain number of cutting cycles. However, during cleaning, special attention should be paid to the way the lens is being cleaned. By improper cleaning, the cutting lens may be damaged or not cleaned entirely, leaving a thin layer of dirt on it.

There are specially developed means for cleansing the lens. However, Donner states that operators often don’t know how to use a cleaning agent. What is needed is to apply a reasonable amount of cleaning agent. After that, the lens polishing follows, which is done by pressing your hand on it very gently. With regular maintenance and cleaning, the life span of the laser lens can be extended to as long as 8 months, with the inevitable improvement in cutting quality.


Is the laser jet centered?

The jet in  a laser cutting process has a very important and irreplaceable role. In addition to conducting the laser beam and directing it to the metal, an auxiliary gas used for cutting passes through it as well. For this reason, after a certain number of cutting cycles, the operator must check the centering of the jet by directing the laser beam on the tape for about 1 second. After this, one should make sure the hole created in the tape is well centered.

Since the hole is of very small dimensions, the operator is recommended to use the magnifying glass. In addition to increasing the precision of the cut, a good positioning of the jet can increase the speed of the cut by as much as 40%.

Regular maintenance is the key to laser cutting quality


Is the laser cutter optic focused?

In addition to regular and duly maintenance of the cutting optics, it is necessary to focus it after a certain number of cutting cycles. Modern laser cutting machines have a system that focuses it automatically without the need for any kind of intervention done by the operator. However, in older laser cutters, the operator must be the one to complete the focusing process.

Different methods that give the same result have been developed for laser optic focusing. The focusing is done by the operator who releases a low-power laser beam and manages the focusing system located on the laser cutter. It is necessary to observe the color of the laser beam. Once it becomes blue, the operator must write down the values and repeat the whole procedure three times. The average result obtained by this process is entered by the operator into the laser cutter system, thus focusing the optic.

However, the focusing process depends largely on the type and laser cutter manufacturer. Therefore, it is recommended that you consult with the manufacturer, so the focusing would be done right.


Regular maintenance is the key to laser cutting quality

These questions are just some of the guidelines that lead to laser quality improvement. However, the key to improving quality and extending the lifespan of laser cutters is regular maintenance. Regular maintenance, in addition to increasing speed, increases the quality of laser cutting at the same cost.


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