5 reasons why a laser increases productivity

Michael Garstenauer
15. September 2020 • 6 min

Why does a laser cutter increase productivity in acrylic processing?

I am a Product Manager at Trotec and the large format laser cutter is “my product”. A few weeks ago I received some very positive customer feedback. The owner of a digital printing company sent a thank you message via LinkedIn. After purchasing an SP3000, he was able to increase his acrylic production volume from 10 m² per week to currently 1,200 to 1,500 m² per week. This corresponds to about 30% of the total workload of his company. In addition to this increase, he was able to reduce the reject rate from 20% to 1%. This impressive increase in productivity in acrylic processing is achieved by using laser technology. Why is that? This blog highlights the differences between lasers and milling machines and explains how using a laser increases productivity.

Increase productivity: Advantages of laser technology in acrylic processing

1. Higher productivity due to fewer process steps

The biggest advantage of processing acrylic with a laser cutter is the flame-polished cut edge. The laser produces these automatically, whereas milling requires time-consuming and costly flame polishing. This eliminates a time-consuming process step, which also carries the risk of rendering the workpiece unusable.

2. Lower maintenance costs and fewer rejects

The laser works without contact. This means that tools are not worn out and the running costs for maintenance and replacement are eliminated. In addition, the cutting result is more reproducible and the reject rate is reduced.

3. High quality and productivity in acrylic processing

Milling releases a lot of dust. This affects the quality of the result, because dust and swarf scratch the material. In addition, the dust generated during milling is not only very unpleasant in the air, it also builds up quickly due to the static charge on acrylic sheets and prevents the required print quality with zero dust inclusions under white acrylic printed across the entire surface.

4. Less waste

The nesting function of the laser software minimizes material waste. Whole sheets are optimized in a wide variety of jobs. This allows the expensive and energy-intensive acrylic to be used sparingly, reducing unit costs.

5. Focus on overall costs

Processing acrylic with a milling machine results in high process costs. It is advisable to use the overall costs in the calculation.

Interested in more information?

Due to the lower process costs, laser technology is up to 88% cheaper than milling. Check out sample calculations for increasing your productivity in our ebook.

eBook: Advantages of laser cutting acrylic

Laser technology enables a greater variety of products and thus additional income

Another advantage of laser technology: It enables new products and thus additional business. Some products cannot be realized with a milling machine. Very fine details cannot be milled, sharp inner edges are not possible due to the radius of the milling machine. Due to the mechanical forces that arise in the milling head, product parts may break away or even be ejected. Due to the vibrations that occur during milling, there is also a risk that the printed, hardened colors will partially peel off. The use of laser technology in acrylic processing thus reduces rejects. In addition, the machine operator is better protected. If you’d like to prepare for future challenges in acrylic processing, please contact us and we’ll be happy to look at your productivity calculation in detail.

More about the author: Michael Garstenauer

Michael Garstenauer has been at Trotec Laser since 2016 and is Product Manager of Laser Cutting. He specializes in the areas of advertising technology, digital printing, textile processing and technical textiles. He loves his interface function and combines an eye for the big picture with a love of detail.
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