A History Lesson on Laser Cutting in Manufacturing

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Laser cutting is one of Mainstay’s many offerings. We use this precise technology to create intricate features in parts for a variety of industries—construction, medical, mining, packaging, and recreation to name a few.

Because of its tight tolerances, laser cutting is an ideal solution for machining geometrically-complex features. In fact, it is more stable and accurate than any other manufacturing tool.

Laser cutting hasn’t been around all that long. All things considered, this technology is relatively new. In order to have a deeper appreciation of this amazing technology, let’s take a look at how laser cutting came about and how it works.

From then…

In 1965, Western Electric introduced the first production laser. This electrical engineering and manufacturing company, which has been responsible for many developments over the years, first used a laser to drill holes in diamond dies.

A German scientist developed a laser-cutting nozzle two years later that used an oxygen assist-gas with a CO2 laser beam to cut a steel sheet that was 1mm.

A few years later, Boeing entered the scene. Three researchers wrote a paper that determined that with R&D, laser gas-assist could be used to cut hard materials like titanium and ceramic.

A CO2 laser cutting system analogous to today’s technology with moving optics was introduced in 1975. By the 1980s, industrial entrepreneurs utilized laser technology for engraving. Laser welding was later introduced as a precise, fast, clean solder-free method of joining.

To now…

Today, lasers work by focusing an intense beam of light on a piece of any strength material to be cut. With precise beam technology, the beam melts the area, leaving a crisp edge.

Because lasers are so precise, they can be used to create any shape of geometry with intricate, distortion-free cuts. Their minimal “heat affect zone” makes lasers ideal for industries with tight tolerances like the medical and aerospace industries.

Laser machining is a valuable tool that has added compelling benefits to the processing industry with its non-contact technology. Design engineers utilize high-precision lasers to tighten size tolerances and make prototypes, which empowers industries to get new products into the market faster.

This efficient tool has truly come a long way over the years and has greatly influenced the manufacturing world as a whole.