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Laser Cutting Fundamentals

TRUMPF Inc. A World Leader In Laser Technology

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
TRUMPF Laser Presentation
 Why Laser Processing  Types of Light  Types of Industrial Lasers  CO2 Laser Theory  RF - Excitation  Laser Resonator Design  The Cutting Process  Processing Parameters  Height Regulation System  Cutting Techniques  Difference in CO2 vs. Nd:YAG Lasers
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Why Laser Processing?
 Minimum set-up time  Fast processing speeds  High part tolerances  Quality edges and finish  No part distortion  Flexibility and versatility  Increased competitiveness  Quiet  Laser precautions
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Types of Light
Incandescent
 Many different light frequencies  Diffused in all directions

Laser Beam
 Single light frequency  In phase and same direction
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Incandescent vs. Laser Light
1cm focal length

Focused Power Measurement 0.08 Watts/cm2 800,000 Watts/cm2

100 Watt light bulb 100 Watt laser beam

0.013cm diameter

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
3 Basic Parts To Any Laser

 Excitation Method  Gain Medium  Optical Resonator

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Two Types of Industrial Lasers
 Gas Laser - CO2 as the Laser Medium
  

10.6 µm wave length Powers up to 40,000 Watts Beam transmission with mirrors

 Solid State Laser - Nd:YAG as the Laser Medium
  

1.06 µm wave length Powers up to 4,000 Watts Beam transmission with fiber optic cable

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
CO2 Laser Theory
3) Energy level increases from excitation and collisions 2) Add in excitation
CO2 N2 N2 CO2 He He CO2 CO2 CO2

4) Photon is emitted at a high energy state 5) CO2 molecule is cooled and brought back to ground state by He

N2

Energy Levels
6) Process repeats
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1) Molecules at ground state

Laser Cutting Fundamentals
CO2 Laser Non-Lasing

N2 He

CO2

 Molecules at rest  Gas mix ratio
  

He (18) N2 (6) CO2 (1.5)
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Initial Lasing

N2 CO2

 Excited N2 molecules collide with excited CO2 molecules  Unstable CO2 molecules releases energy by emitting a photon of light  Photons bounce around in resonator
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Avalanche Effect (Stimulated Emission)

 Photons collide and emit other photons in the same direction  Eventually hit a mirror and reflect back  Optics are aligned so photons bounce back and forth
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Total Lasing (Light Amplification)

 Lasing occurs when photons are traveling back and forth between the optics

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Laser Output (Radiation)
Rear mirror Front mirror (output coupler)

 Laser beam exits resonator through an optical coupler  The output optic is 60% reflective 40% transmissive
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Electrode Uniform Discharge O-ring Seal Gas In Electrode O-ring Seal Gas Out

RF-excitation
Anode Cathode Discharge Gas Out O-ring Seals

O-ring Seals

Gas In

DC-excitation
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
RF- Excitation Benefits
 Low maintenance and high reliability of resonator and optics  Electrodes mounted external to discharge  Fewer O-ring seals  Mode stability  Consistent mode throughout the power range  Better efficiency  Uses less laser gas  Flexible power control  High frequency pulsing
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Laser Resonator Optics

Linear

Square Folded

Maximum power output depends on the resonator length!
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
TRUMPF Laser Resonator Design
Bending Mirror Turbo Pump Gas Cooler Frame Rear Mirror Output Mirror

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Beam Quality
I

 The beam quality influences the cutting performance  Thin and medium thick material cut best with a TEM00 mode (Gaussian distribution) and narrow focussing  For thick plate (above 0.75”) a TEM01 mode (ring mode) is the optimum beam for best cut quality

Fundamental Mode TEM 00
x

nearly Fundamental Mode TEM 00/01*

I

x

I

Ring Mode TEM 01*
x
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
The Cutting Process
Beam In Lens Assist Gas

Work piece

Height Regulation

Nozzle
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Before Cutting Begins
 90% of power is reflected  10% of power is absorbed  Material melts immediately  Molten pool is called “The Keyhole” Reflected laser power

Absorbed laser power
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
As the Cutting Starts

 The Keyhole is blown away by the assist gas  10% of power is reflected  90% of power is absorbed
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Laser Cutting
 Cutting begins when the beam is through the material  The beam, or workpiece, or both, must move to create the desired cut path

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Processing Parameters
 Laser power  Cutting speed  Assist gas  Focus  Nozzle  Pulsing  Piercing - type of gas, pressure - length, position - diameter, standoff - frequency, time delay - time, power ramp, standoff
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Defining Process Parameters
 Material type  Thickness  Edge quality  Other process parameters

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Types of Metal for Laser Cutting
 Mild Steel  Aluminum  Stainless  Aerospace Alloys  Coated Steels

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Types of Laser Power Control
 Pierce
 

Start the cut Small hole drilling Process cutting Small areas Reduce heat input

 Continuous Wave (CW)

 Pulse
 

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Process Parameters Cutting Gas
 Type

O2 or N2 or shop air 0 to 450psi Hole size (more volume) Flow design Stand-off distance / length
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 Pressure

 Nozzle
  

Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Process Parameters Focus / Lens
 Focal length lens
  

Stand-off distance Power density Working depth of field

 Focal height control systems

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Focal Length Definition
Spot diameter = 2D

Focal length = 2L L Spot diameter = D

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Capacitive Height Regulation System (DIAS III)
Z-position meas. system Z-drive to NC/PLC Z-position meas. syst. Digital outputs Digital inputs 220 V

DIAS III-System

Frequency meas. signal Oscillator

Nominal value Z-axis

Bitbus fiber-optics cable
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Laser Cutting Head
 Height Regulation  DIAS insures a constant standoff between nozzle and material  Quick cutting head change  Fast and precision adjustment by means of micrometer screws and dial indicator  Change of lenses or cutting head reduced to a minimum  Nozzle cooled with compressed air
1 2 3 4
0001 5"D1,5"  HD

2 1 3

1

Serien­Nr. 0001 Ident­Nr. 256133

X adjustment screw with scale Clamping pin Y adjustment screw with scale Nozzle

4
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Focal Height Control Systems Ball Rollers
 Positive control method  Rolls on material  All materials  Allows for multi-layer cut  Simple design  Difficult to process very close to edge  Flexible nesting nearly impossible  Scratches on top of material
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Focal Height Control Systems Spoon
 All materials  Simple / Inexpensive  Rides on material  Difficult to process very close to edge  Flexible nesting nearly impossible

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Machine System Configuration
 Sheet mover (tracker) - moving sheet in X and Y  Hybrid  Flying optics - moving pallet in X only - moving cutting head in X and Y

 Flat sheet or tube and pipe  Multi-axis  Robotics

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Maximum Cutting Thickness (in inch) Maximum Cutting Thickness (in inch)
0.9 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 TLF 1800 t TLF 2400 t TLF 3000 t TLF 3800 t

aluminum stainless mild steel

TRUMPF RF-excited Laser Resonator

TRUMPF RF-excited Laser Resonator
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Cutting Rules of Thumb for Mild Steel
 Gas type

Oxygen 10 to 60 psi 0.040” dia. 5” or 7.5”

 Pressure

 Nozzle

 Focus lenses

 Speed / Power relationship
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Other Cutting Techniques
 High pressure cutting
 

Air / Inert gas up to 450 psi Oxide-free surface edge

 Thick material cutting
 

Longer focal length lens Lower gas pressure

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Quality Cutting Goes Beyond Process Parameters
 Beam Quality / Stability  Best focus ability  Optimizes parameters  Best part quality  Smallest nozzle diameter − Closer to material − Less gas consumption  Reliable process results  Beam Delivery System  External mirror maintenance  Mirror alignment  Lens removal and alignment

Re-alignment

Downtim e

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Quality Cutting Goes Beyond Process Parameters
 Assist Gas Quality  Gas purity  Reliable gas flow  System Performance  Smooth accurate motion system  Interface and control  Reliability  Material Quality  Carbon steels  Rust and scale  Grease penciled or painted material
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Cutting of Small Holes
   Cutting in pulse mode with a frequency of 10Hz Diameter smaller than material thickness High accuracy of contour

Ø = 0.2 in.

Example: Material Material thickness Smallest hole diameter

Mild steel 0.5 in. 0.4 in. x thickness
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
SprintLas - Increase in Productivity: 40 - 50%
®

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Machine: Laser: Material:

L3030 TLF 3000t Mild steel

Material thickness: 0.060 in Cutting time w/out SprintLas : 78 s Cutting time with SprintLas : 43 s
® ®

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
ToPs 100: Programming System for Lasers
 Geometry data input from CAD-systems (DXF, IGES, ...)  Integrated Know-How:  Cutting parameters (SprintLas, common line, ...)  Technology tables  Job-related nesting; "true shape" or “rectangular” nesting processor  Automatic processing definition  Automatic collision check
(TAI 11/11/98 - Laser-Fundamentals-V1.ppt - 23/AS)

Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Difference in CO2 vs. Nd:YAG Lasers
 Gain Medium  Excitation Methods  Resonator Design  Difference between CO2 & Nd:YAG  Operating Costs  Applications - Cutting  Applications - Welding  Choosing between CO2 & Nd:YAG  Future Developments
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Excitation Methods
Electrode

CO2

Discharge

Electrical
Gas In

Electrode Gas Out

Nd:YAG

Discharge

Light
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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Resonator Designs CO2

Nd:YAG

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Differences Between CO2 & Nd:YAG
 Maximum output power / Pulsing  Mechanical  Wavelength  Beam Quality / Focus ability  Maintenance / Reliability / Consumables  Application

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Operating Costs 3000 W - CO2
 Laser Gases  Process gas (welding)  Beam delivery purge / components  Maintenance /hour  Electrical  Total cost per hour $10

3000 W - Nd:YAG
 Flash lamps  Ion Exchanger  Protection glass  Maintenance /hour  Electrical  Total cost per hour $12

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Applications - Cutting CO2
 Sharper edge  Fast cut speeds  Can cut up to 1 inch thick mild steel  Best in metals > 4.0mm

Nd:YAG
 Smooth cut edge  Cuts highly reflective materials copper, silver, gold  Best in metals < 1.0mm

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Applications - Welding CO2
 Best in deep penetration welds  Good for mild and Stainless Steel  Absorption in Aluminum is 5% to 62%  Can use longer focal length lens
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Nd:YAG
 Faster in thinner materials (<1.0mm)  Absorption in Aluminum is 12% to 80%

Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Choosing Between CO2 & Nd:YAG
 Look at the application first  Weigh the importance of each lasers’ characteristics  Consider overall costs and not just initial purchase

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Laser Cutting Fundamentals
Future Developments
 The gray area between CO2 and Nd:YAG will increase as YAG’s increase in power  Flexible cable for lower power CO2 beam delivery  Diode pumped Nd:YAG lasers (eliminates flash lamps)  40 kW CO2 lasers with cut beam quality

(TAI 11/11/98 - Laser-Fundamentals-V1.ppt - 23/AS)