Laser Cutting Overview
At it's simplest, laser cutting is the process by which metals (including aluminum, stainless steel, and carbon steel) are cut with a high-powered laser beam. An essential element in this process is assist gas, which is the gas that is used in the cutting process to ensure the quality performance of the laser.
Nitrogen in Laser Cutting
Nitrogen is the most common assist gas used when the cut of the laser must be excellent. The process vaporizes the metal, and before the vaporized metal can resolidify, the nitrogen gas moves it away from the cut edge. Nitrogen is also essential in:
Prevents Oxidation: Thanks to its inert properties, nitrogen allows the laser to operate in an oxygen-free environment without the risk of oxidation. When your application heats up and comes in contact with oxygen, a phenomenon known as oxidation occurs. This can cause a carbon layer to form on the cut edge, resulting in issues such as poor product finish and adhesion problems for any coating or paint applied to the oxidized surface.
Helps Purge Laser Beam: To prevent the beam from distorting and to maintain power and intensity, the beam path needs to be kept clear of dirt particulates and any other contaminants that could cause it to diverge or lose power. Nitrogen is the ideal medium to use for beam guide-way purging, as it is dry, clean, oil-free, and has a very low contaminant content.
Lower Cost: Nitrogen assist and purge gas are some of the highest costs when it comes to laser cutting, particularly for fiber lasers. So any savings that will be made as a result of generating your own nitrogen will positively affect your bottom line!
Higher Productivity: By saving the time that is normally spent on changing tanks, you can ensure that your application runs continuously and without much attention from the operator.
Better Control: Generating your own nitrogen means no more ordering, changing and running out of bottles! No more liquid deliveries interrupting production, and you no longer have to deal with suppliers' unpredictable price increases.
Highest Efficiency: No oxide edge, high purity 99.999% gas available.
On-Demand Nitrogen: This plug and play solution is sized to match your laser cutter, so you never need to empty your bottles and refill during valuable production hours.
Plug and Play Solution: No need to buy separate compressors and equipment. Easily modified and upgraded if production increases as well as other benefits.
Advance Engineering, a leading metal fabrication firm in the UK, invested in an Atlas Copco on-site nitrogen generation system for its laser-cutting operation!
“ The new unit now gives us a reliable independent source of high purity nitrogen at the lowest cost. We are in full control and have eliminated the need, costs, and hassle of ordering, transportation and delivery of bottled gas to our site. ”