You may know that laser technology is an excellent solution when it comes to cutting and shaping different types of metal in the engineering or manufacturing environment. However, you may wonder whether it is appropriate for cutting metals that are known for their reflective nature. Is laser cutting still an option in that situation?
Types of Material
You may not have a choice when it comes to using materials that are reflective in nature. These are, after all, in high demand in certain industries, particularly when it comes to silver, brass, bronze or gold. Silver is used to create solar reflectors or mirrors and when it comes to jewellery design or sunglasses. Stainless steel is another example, which can also present issues associated with reflection if the job is configured in a certain way.
Issues with Reflection
Reflection can pose an issue with laser cutting machines because this technology uses a combination of lights and mirrors to work properly. A problem can arise if the laser beam is directed at the reflective metal and the beam is diverted back into the machine by the metal sheet. Without a fail-safe switch in place, the lenses and mirrors within the machine can get damaged.
It is possible to apply a non-reflective coating to the metal surface before any work starts, but molten metal can still be generated by the process, which can have highly reflective properties as well.
Nevertheless, it is still possible to use laser cutting technology when working with these metals, so long as steps are taken to prepare the machine and raw materials carefully. This way, any risk to the machine can be minimised and the work can be completed successfully.
It is also possible to fit a fail-safe device to the cutting equipment, linking it to very sensitive detectors. Should radiation levels within the machine rise to a certain degree then it can be automatically switched off until adjustments are made. With a little trial and error, it will nevertheless be possible for the job to proceed with minimal delay and without risk to either the machine or the material being used. When all of these safeguards are properly configured, work can proceed in accordance with strict production schedules.
Talk with your supplier about your upcoming job so that they can configure your machine to work with reflective materials. For more information on laser cutting, contact a supplier.