Laser Cut Stainless Steel: What’s the Process?
Do you know what goes into the laser cut stainless steel process? It’s quite beneficial to understand everything you need to know, including its importance in the manufacturing industry.
Sophisticated metalworking processes nowadays have included the use of today’s innovative technology. Laser metal cutting is one of the modern processing methods used extensively today. And its popularity keeps growing every day.
The term ‘LASER’ is an acronym that means ‘Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.’ A laser is a light oscillator that focuses keenly on a tiny diameter not larger than 1 mm.
The laser cutting process has to do with thermal material in which the laser source – i.e., the resonator – creates a laser beam via the means of a mirror. The action is carried out within the cutter head of the equipment, focusing very keenly on a point of a small diameter.
Lasers are currently utilized in an increasing number of production processes to automatically carry out precise etches, cuts, surfaces, and even to create highly complex contours. Lasers are used extensively in electronics design, industrial manufacturing applications, etc.
Using lasers ensures the finished products and cuts always meet the client’s specification, right down to the micrometer, time and again. The areas around every hole or cut are always perfectly smooth and entirely free of surface imperfections or burrs.
Exact cuts are incredibly easy to reproduce – using lasers – irrespective of the configurations or number of pieces stored within the system’s memory.
How Laser Cutting Works
As mentioned briefly earlier, laser cutting is a thermal process that begins by heating and focusing a laser beam – with density ranges around 104 Wmm2 – in combination with an active or inert gas.
The laser beam melts the stainless steel or metal that is being sliced. The gas used in the process efficiently eliminates liquefied metal.
The laser metal cutting starts by drilling a hole in the metal, and this can take up to fifteen seconds, depending on the thickness of the metal. The laser beam utilized during the laser-cutting process is parallel to thicknesses between 1.5mm and 12.5mm.
Laser is nothing but pure energy. And as a result, it may seem that the need for maintenance should be virtually absent. But in reality, a laser’s beam can shift or become misaligned as time passes.
This effect can be likened to a scenario in which a cut rope starts out very tightly wound together. However, it begins to fray eventually. Precise laser beams have been known to start radiating energy far beyond what is desired. This causes a gradient effect that heats up the machinery improperly.
This is where laser profiling comes in. Laser profiling has to do with accurately measuring a laser beam’s waveform and energy output. This grants engineers the ability to make necessary adjustments as required in order to maintain optimum precision for prolonged periods. Adjustments are vital for quality to be churned out consistently.
Innovative measuring equipment known as laser beam profilers easily detect and then analyze 4 aspects of the laser:
- Energy uniformity
- Beam quality
- Beam shape
- Beam width
Some unique laser measurement apparatuses are designed to detect total energy output in order to ensure that the focal point is just hot enough to cut smoothly through stainless steel or the desired materials.
And what is the point of making these measurements, you might wonder? This is to ensure that the lasers function at their peak efficiency over the millions of cuts they have to make and thousands of operative hours.
Why Precision and Quality is Key
Laser precision is super-important and highly coveted for compressor valve parts/plates. This is because exact dimensions cause each part of the compressor valve to work seamlessly and efficiently according to its designed or planned purpose. This guarantees a much longer lifespan.
Lasers can also be used for crafting plates and parts from thermoplastic materials as well as varying metal thickness equally well. Accuracy is highly crucial for all intricate operations that rely heavily on cutting across various axes.
Compressor valve parts/plates have to be perfectly cut in order to ensure maximum quality, operating efficiency, and longevity. The valve seal’s strength is highly crucial to guaranteeing accurate flutter-free pressure and operation.
The piston generates incredible forces, and without a super-tight seal, the force will affect the integrity of the valve or damage it severely. This could lead to the premature breakdown of the machine.
Surface imperfections – especially when the machinery is operated in dirty gas environments – speeds up valve wear as debris and particles intensify and nick the areas around anomalies.
How Laser Cutting Creates Metallic Compressor Valve Parts/Plates
Compressor plates are not a one-size-fits-all thingy, which is why it is incredibly crucial to achieving optimum as well as a carefully crafted product.
The valve plate must be durable and highly resilient since it plays an essential role in each work cycle. The valve plate should be efficient and quiet in order to avoid vibration while providing. It should also be resistant to breakable, especially when power surges suddenly bring about valve flutter.
In other words, the valve plate must be dimensionally stable. Compressor valve plates are dimensionally stable when retaining their properties and shapes while they operate according to their intended purposes.
When people hear of stainless steel, they always tend to think of high-end home appliances. Stainless steel – an alloy of chromium, steel, nickel, and a relatively small amount of carbon – is trendy because of the following:
- It is highly resistant to corrosion
- Strong and durable
- Composed of ready material
Stainless steel is used for making several appliances, including the following:
- Surgical instruments
- Industrial applications
Stainless steel can easily withstand a wide range of temperature variations and can’t conduct electricity. For this reason, a stainless compressor valve plate must be cut very carefully using a laser cutting machine.
Grade 410 stainless steel is made of a very strong composite, making it the perfect choice for making compressor plates. This stainless steel grade is highly resistant to heat and has a great deal of strength. It can withstand temperatures up to approximately 50o degrees.
And this implies that grade 410 stainless steel can also withstand machining and welding. This is why it is usually applied in a stress-relieved and hardened state since it can efficiently hold up to constant mechanical wear.
This stainless steel helps protect the valve from staff member error, incorrect repair, and operation beyond the system manufacturer’s limits. Grade 410 stainless steel is also used in gas turbines, bolts, the rungs of mine ladders, screws, etc.
And the most crucial part is that grade 410 stainless steel efficiently lends itself to laser metal cutting machinery.
One of today’s modern methods of cutting stainless steel and other metals is laser metal cutting. Laser technology currently has everything that allows metal-based industries to optimally and adequately utilize their resources, thereby getting the best results.
There is no doubt that laser technology will be the future of metal cutting and will be used extensively in several industries.
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