This article focuses on metal sheets, their types and the kind of laser cutting technology used to give them various forms. The steps are briefly mentioned and applications in various industries are specified.
In today’s world, metal sheets have numerous uses in the manufacturing of furniture, automobiles, fences and many other necessities. As the name suggests, metal sheets are flat and thin which makes it suitable to be rolled up easily and are durable enough to remain in its form unlike thin sheets of aluminum foil.
Types of metal sheets
There are several kinds of metals and their forms in which the metal sheets exist in the market.
Metal sheets can have various components such as nickel, tin, titanium, brass and copper but aluminum is the most common form of metal used to make metal sheets after steel however, certain other elements like iron, copper silicon and magnesium are added to aluminum sheets to enhance their strength and durability as it is a soft metal itself. These aluminum metal sheets are resistant to corrosion and are used in the making of jewelry, household appliances and electronic chassis
Steel metal sheets
Steel metal sheets have further forms, namely:
- Cold rolled
- Hot rolled
- Mild steel
Cold rolled- Cold rolled steel has a better finish and higher strength in comparison to steel, it basically starts off as hot metal but then it is rinsed with acid followed by a heating process known as annealing
Hot rolled- These kinds of metal sheets are heated above 1400 Fahrenheit and the whole process yield metal sheets with a thickness that ranges between 1/16 to 5/16 inches
Mild steel- In mild steel form, the sheet contains lesser carbon in the steel alloys which makes it more suitable to be turned and molded into different forms such as in the automotive industry
Perforated metal sheets
These kinds of metal sheets can be made out of any metal whether it be stainless steel or brass, it differs in the aspect that it has holes in it throughout the sheet
Types of metal cutting machines
There are different types of metal cutting machines, some of them are:
- Plasma cutting machines
- Laser cutting machines
- CO2 laser cutting machine
- Fiber laser cutting machine
Plasma cutters are reliable and accurate but the results are less precise than those of plasma cutters, they can cut steel, aluminum and stainless steel. It operates on high speed and acceleration with advanced motion control algorithms
Laser cutting machines are of two types: Fiber laser cutting machines and C02 laser cutting machines, in the CO2 laser cutter, compressed gas technology is used whereas a high power fiber laser cutting machine is capable of cutting metal up to five times more efficiently than a conventional CO2 laser cutting machine. Another advantage is that it does not require any warm-up time while a CO2 laser cutter takes around 10 minutes to warm up.
Metal sheets laser cutting
- An intense laser beam is used to cut metal sheets, the beam is focused on the point to be cut by the aid of a series of lenses and mirror which direct it.
- The beam basically melts and vaporizes the metal underneath (which is focused)
- The remains are blown off by a stream of gas, the path of beam is guided and automated.
- The process requires a power supply, a laser system, mirrors and lenses, nozzle, pressurized gas
- The CO2 metal cutting machine requires approximately 1000 to 2000 watts of power whereas fiber laser cutting machines use very high powers, Nd and Nd-YAG lasers
CNC laser cutting machines have a huge contribution in many manufacturing industries, whether it be automotive or construction. Some of the well-known CNC laser cutting machine manufacturers are:
- Perfect Laser –They offer numerous kinds of advanced CNC laser cutting machines, each specified for the nature of use, it is based in China
- SJZQ laser-They are also one of the leading CNC laser cutting machines manufacturers
- HAN’S laser
- TANAKA &KOIKE
Applications in industry
Metal cutting with the help of laser cutting technology whether it be CO2 laser cutting or the most precise fiber laser cutting has vast applications in all sorts of industries, huge industrial laser metal cutting machines are used for the manufacturing big products
In the medical field, beds, trolleys, surgical instruments, orthopedic rods and oral brackets all are cut and shaped by the air of laser metal cutting technology.
It also has wide applications in the automotive industry where most of the structure and core of vehicles is made out of different metal, this CNC laser cutting technology has the potential to cut both ferrous and non- ferrous materials
Ornaments for decoration purposes and manufacturing of jewelry, all owe their final form to laser cutting of metals
Whether it be industrial laser cutter or sheet metal laser cutter on a small scale, this technology has revolutionized the manufacturing industry and now is able to achieve what was impossible ages ago.