Laser cutting has become an indispensable technology for its ability to perform clean cuts with a very high precision level. This thermal cutting process employs a highly focused light beam powerful enough to slice through sheet or plate metal. A numerically controlled (NC) file is fed into a computer numerical controlled (CNC) laser to direct the laser beam’s movement using X and Y coordinates. The high-energy-density beam vaporizes the material along the indicated cut path, resulting in a clean-cut edge with little to no dross, slag, or burrs.
Advantages of Laser Cutting
Laser cutting offers numerous benefits over conventional fabrication methods, including:
- Eliminated waste. Laser cutting maximizes material usage, enabling a significant reduction in scrap. Waste reduction is especially beneficial when using expensive materials. Laser cutting is also very energy efficient, consuming substantially less power than other cutting methods.
- Increased precision. Compared with plasma cutting, machining, and other standard fabrication techniques, laser cutting allows for much greater cutting precision. The highly focused beam can cut within very tight tolerances without significantly impacting metal outside the cutting area. Able to accurately achieve virtually any shape or geometry, laser cutting has become a preferred choice for applications in aerospace, defense, microelectronics, and other precision industries.
- Material versatility. Laser cutting is suitable for a wide range of metallic and non-metallic materials and can cut through sheets of varying thicknesses. Manufacturers often prefer waterjet or plasma cutting for very thick material, but laser cutting’s exceptional versatility makes it a valuable modern cutting tool. Laser cutting is also suitable for soft materials that may be damaged by other cutting methods.
- Shorter lead times. Laser cutting eliminates the need to custom-design or modify specialized tooling for every project. A laser can perform all operations without constantly changing out tooling between tasks, resulting in lower equipment costs and shorter lead times. Without expensive tooling, laser cutting offers a highly cost-effective option, even for small-batch or limited-run projects.
Materials for Laser Cutting
While compatible with virtually any non-reflective material, laser cutting is most commonly used to cut metals. There are many types and grades of metal used in manufacturing, each with its advantages and limitations for laser cutting. The properties and thickness of the material will ultimately dictate the best cutting method. At G.E. Mathis Company, we frequently laser cut the following materials:
- Carbon Steel
- Stainless steel
- Abrasion resistant steel
- Hardox® wear plate
- Mild steel
- High strength steel
- Strenx (Domex)
- Thin metals
- Heavy plate
G.E. Mathis Company Laser Cutting Metal Services
Founded in 1905, G.E. Mathis Company is a metal fabrication company specializing in precision laser cutting for many demanding industries. With our skilled technicians and advanced laser cutting equipment, we can accommodate various materials, thicknesses, and production volumes. Our 3-axis CO2 flying optic and hybrid laser technologies allow us to create high-quality products from materials with thicknesses ranging from 16-gauge sheets to 1.25-inch thick plates.
We process single prototypes to high-volume runs, providing end-to-end services tailored around your specific laser cutting needs. Our large-capacity laser systems include a gantry setup that can process 14-foot-by-100-foot sheets and plates with a maximum power capacity of 6,000 watts. We also have a pallet system capable of cutting up to 8-foot-by-20-foot with 8,000-watt maximum power output.
With our advanced laser processing technologies and large-capacity systems, we can cut virtually any shape with incredible accuracy. Laser cutting accommodates unique designs and complex, non-circular geometries with greater precision and ease. We also provide a range of in-house secondary and finishing services to complement our core metal fabrication capabilities. As a one-stop-shop provider, we save our customers valuable time and money by eliminating the hassle of managing multiple vendors for different tasks. Our customers know that their project is in capable hands from start to finish.
Download our eBook, Laser Cutting vs. Plasma Cutting, here.