Due to the very narrow kerf and minor heat deformation this method allows the cutting of small holes, fine details and complex shapes with excellent tolerances on today’s advanced machines. Even standard laser cutting machines today usually feature CNC control for 3D laser cutting, with the possibility to cut angles for weld preparations whilst cutting a complex series of holes and the external part profile. Most common is the traditional CO2 laser but new generation fiber lasers are now becoming the industry standard for thinner steel sheet cutting due to the lower operating costs and high cutting speeds.
The assist gas used can be active or inactive gas, and these are jetted into the laser beam melt pool area by special nozzles. Active gas like Oxygen produces an exothermic reaction at the melt pool adding to the efficiency of the laser but resulting in an oxidized edge. An Inactive gas which is an inert gas and most commonly Nitrogen, Helium, Argon and/or CO2, which reduce the cutting speed but give superior edge quality.