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Posted on Apr 26, 2016 in Business Tips

Laser Cutting FAQ – Digging Deeper

Making the most of state of the art laser cutting technology means developing at least a rudimentary understanding of its extraordinary advantages. When working with metal pressing companies directly or considering investing in new machinery for your own work place, the benefits that come as standard when making the switch to laser cutting technology are as fast as they are undeniable.

So for those with an interest in laser cutting technology with perhaps a few important questions to ask, what follows is an introductory FAQ covering some of the most important issues of all:

1 – Are Laser Cutting Machines Used In Full Production Or Prototyping?

In a word, both. When it comes to prototyping and producing samples, cutting edge laser systems can be extraordinarily beneficial. The reason being that when used in conjunction with the latest CAD software and computer technology, it becomes perfectly possible to create entirely accurate virtual 3D models of whatever it is that is to be manufactured. After this, the computer takes over directing and guiding the laser cutting machinery itself, in order to produce a flawless initial item. This has the potential to eliminate what can prove to be a costly trial and error process when attempting to create prototypes using conventional cutting equipment. And when it comes to full production, laser cutting machines are inherently able to not only produce more accurate and consistently flawless results, but also do so with greater speed and cost effectiveness.

2 – Is It Worth Investing In Laser Cutting Technology, Or Is It Better To Outsource?

This all depends on the specific requirements of the business, though in the vast majority of instances it is considered more advisable to outsource to third party engineering companies. The reason being that while production costs associated with laser cutting machinery can be extremely low, the same cannot be said for their initial purchase and setup costs. Which in turn means that unless the machine is likely to be used on a constant and on-going basis as a central part of what it is that the business does, it could be a better idea to outsource all such requirements to engineering service providers. In addition, one of the key benefits of outsourcing is the way in which you not only gain access to what could prove to be highly invaluable consultancy, but you also eliminate all costs associated with on-going maintenance and any required repairs to the machinery itself.

3 – Is Laser Cutting Machinery Difficult To Operate?

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In a word, no…at least comparatively speaking, anyway. The simple fact of the matter is that as the vast majority of the process is controlled by computer hardware and software, manual input on the part of the human engineer is minimal.  Human members of the workforce will of course always be necessary in order to set things up and supervise such operations, but there is little to no manual input required whatsoever when it comes to the actual cutting process.

4 – Can Laser Cutting Machines Cut Literally Anything Into Any Size And/Or Shape?

While it’s safe to say that the versatility and flexibility of modern laser cutting machines is extraordinary, they still have their limitations. All such limitations will be determined by the specific type and purpose of the laser cutting machine in question – some are designed to slice metal with ease, while others are better suited to engraving wooden objects. Technically speaking, cuts with a diameter as small as 210 microns are perfectly possible when utilising the very best laser cutting systems on the market. And while it can certainly cost a small fortune to invest in this kind of machinery in the first place, the fact that you immediately eliminate tooling costs on a permanent basis can lead to significant long-term savings and serious value for money.

5 – Is There Any Difference From One Brand And Machine To The Next?

Yes, very much so. The simple fact of the matter is that while there are lots of engineering companies up and down the country right now offering exactly these kinds of services, all are most certainly not working to the same high quality standards. Just as is the case with the businesses themselves, the differences from one machine to the next can be literally night and day. Which is precisely why it is a good idea to ask as many questions as necessary, before going ahead. The service provider you choose should be able and willing to speak openly and confidently about the equipment and machinery they use – anything to the contrary being a surefire sign of a service provider best avoided.