Originally invented by Kumar Patel in 1964, the carbon dioxide laser was among the first gas lasers to be developed. It has since held it’s place on the podium of most-efficient metal cutting procedures available today. Cutting Edge Laser proudly uses Trumpf’s CO2 laser cutting technology. Trumpf is a high-tech company that focuses on manufacturing technology, photonics and medical technology. The process of carbon dioxide laser cutting is a fascinating, precise, scientific art that yields impressive results.
The Laser Beam Itself
As the highest powered continuous wave lasers available, CO2 lasers are able to produce an infrared light beam. The beam is generated when an electric current is discharged through a gas, resulting in a beam of light.
The wavelength is measured as a “wavelength band” which specifies the range of a continuous group of wavelengths. A CO2 laser produces a wavelength band that approximately centers between 9.4 and 10.6 micrometers (millionths of a meter).
The laser beam is caused by a process involving “laser pumping.” The “pump” is the electric current that is discharged through the gas. The tube of carbon dioxide acts as the “gain medium,” or the medium through which the laser pump is discharged. This causes the carbon dioxide atoms to become “excited” or rise to a higher energy level.
Photons are added to the mix through a small source of light, generally a light emitting diode (LED). When a photon interacts with an atom, an identical photon is produced and the atom’s energy level decreases. This interaction between the atoms and the photons are contained between half-silvered mirrors, which allow some of the light to escape the reactive area. Because the photons are an identical wavelength, focused by the help of a lens, the escaping photons form a monochromatic stream of coherent light – the laser beam. However, the mirrors also causes some of the photons to bounce back, causing the excited atoms to continue to produce more photons. Consequently, the consistent generation of photons allows the laser beam to remain steady and continuous.
Cutting Material with a CO2 Laser
The high powered CO2 lasers, manufactured by Trumpf, have the power to cut through a ½ inch steel plate with ease. The laser is directed by a computer, cutting the material into the programmed shape. Cutting the metal with a laser leaves a well-finished edge, one of the main reasons that industrial manufacturers often prefer laser cutting over other methods. Carbon dioxide lasers are not merely used to cut metal, however. Plastics, wax, paper, wood and even fabrics are often cut with CO2 lasers, also. Engraving can also be done by a lower power CO2 laser so that the laser doesn’t slice through the metal entirely.
Advantages of Trumpf Laser Technology
According to Trumpf, their lasers are easy to integrate into existing facility designs, “Because of their compact and rugged construction and open interface architecture…they can be used on even moving components.” The flexibility they possess allows them to “deliver first-class processing quality and availability of the whole system.”
At the end of the day, your laser cutter has provided a completely finished product that fits perfectly with the required specifications of your project. No refinishing of the resulting process will be necessary, because the process efficiently and professionally completes the job. For more information about our laser cutting services, please feel free to request a free quote. We would be absolutely thrilled to work with you, and we’ll quote you on a job within 24 hours.