Using Your Material Requirements to Select a Laser System

There are many ways to approach purchasing a new laser system. One method to consider is starting with the materials you work with and narrowing in your options.

Although laser systems offer broad flexibility in processing materials, there are some questions to consider to make sure your system has the proper configuration to meet your material requirements.

Ask yourself what types of materials will you use. Think about the materials you use now or would like to use in the future. The effects produced by laser energy interacting with a material strongly depend upon the wavelength and power level of the laser and the absorption characteristics of a material.

Then ask, what are the dimensions of the materials? The laser system you select should have a laser processing area that will accommodate the dimensions of your materials, parts, or products. If using raw material, most materials will come in sheets or rolls. Material sheets and rolls in many cases can be cut to a size that fits within a laser system. If you are looking to laser process 3-dimensional objects that are spherical, cylindrical, square, or oddly shaped, this is important to know in order to determine the Z-axis depth or additional components your system will need to accommodate these objects.

Finally, which laser processes do you plan to use on each material? Understanding what you want to accomplish with your materials not only determines the power level and wavelength you’ll need, it also helps determine the components you may need to achieve the best result with laser processing (i.e. type of lens), to properly support the material (i.e., cutting table, pin table, rotary fixture), or to minimize surface contamination of dust and debris or byproducts during laser processing (i.e. gas assist, air filtration).

-Manny Oropeza, Universal Laser Systems

Manny Oropeza

Manny Oropeza is a technology specialist and applications engineer for Universal Laser Systems. He has been employed with the company for over seven years, and is a member of the Advanced Materials Processing Center, which offers free application testing, consultation, and support to customers.

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Charlie Fox

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