Choosing the Ideal Laser Cutting Service for Your Application

March 22, 2021

When choosing the ideal laser cutting service or punching service for your application, quality, cutting-edge technologies, and customer service are a top priority. However, often overlooked and underappreciated when approaching a full-service metal fabrication shop to manufacture your application is how much it pays to select a company that knows your industry and what it is you are trying to make.

Quest-Tech is a full-service metal fabrication shop that builds successful relationships with clients in large part due to over 20 years of experience in creating customs applications for numerous industries—aerospace, automotive and transportation, electronics and telecommunications, construction, oil and gas, medical and healthcare industries, and more. Our state of the art Amada Laser and Amanda Punch Presses can handle the most challenging production runs, cutting a wide variety of materials varying in gauge and dimension.

What is Laser Cutting?

As the name suggests, laser cutting involves the focus of a laser beam directed through a nozzle to a targeted area of material that is to be cut. The focused beam cuts via a combination of heat and pressure. It essentially melts and then ejects molted material away while leaving a small kerf in its wake. It can be used in the fabrication of many non-metallic materials such as assorted polymers, related plastics, and rubber. However, its primary application is for use in cutting metals, many vital to fabrication processes like stainless steel, carbon steel, brass, aluminum, and copper. In fact, laser cutting offers optimal precision cuts for all ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Advantages of Laser Cutting

Laser cutting services offer many unique benefits over traditional methods of cutting. The process is a thermal-based subtractive method that cuts through materials by melting, burning or vaporizing the workpiece material. It is used in the fabrication of products for numerous industries. The process CNC driven laser cutting applications can produce highly complex geometries through materials of all thicknesses. Most notably, it ensures a precise, clean, smooth-edged finish suitable for cutting a broad selection of material. As one of the most popular fabrication techniques, it can be used for countless applications.

One of the key advantages of laser cutting is high accuracy and precision, which guarantees clean cuts with tight tolerances that produce smooth-edged finishes. The laser focuses on a desired region of the material and cuts, impacting a very small heat-affected zone. The result is imperceptible warping or distortion from changes that commonly occur to microstructures from other methods of cutting. The process is very fast and can be repeated with high levels of precision. That precision also reduces the kerf width, which enables tighter nesting, which in turn makes more use of the material and lowers scrap waste and as well as material costs.

Laser Cutting vs. Laser Punching

Laser punching is another subtractive fabrication manufacturing method. Punch presses are fitted with uniquely shaped turrets that strike metal with brute force, into a die that literally “punches” and creates a design through the material. Either the punched-out material can be used, referred to as blanks, or the metal sheets or panels with intricate designs can be used for such applications as housing a laptop or tablet. Punch presses can be smaller mechanical machines or advanced automated systems powered with CNC technology offering the flexibility and versatility to produce complex designs.

Both laser cutters and punch presses benefit from CNC (Computer Numerical Control) powered programs. CNC technology provides the highest levels of control over the fabrication of products. Once the CNC program is loaded, the laser cutting system or punch press can perform intricate, exact cuts with precision, accuracy, repeatability at increased speed. Geometric designs once considered improbable are now possible with CNC programming.

Choosing the ideal laser cutting service can depend on a number of factors that can range from better resources and more customer experience to higher quality and competitive pricing. These are all important factors in finding the right service for your company. With the many benefits that laser cutting and punching services offer, selecting a full-service shop that is familiar with your industry will ensure you find the ideal company for your job.