5 reasons why a laser machine increases productivity

by Michael Garstenauer published on 15. September 2020 Reading time ≈ 6 min

Why does a laser cutting machine increase productivity in acrylic processing?

I am a Product Manager at Trotec and the large format laser cutting machine is my area of responsibility. 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 laser cutter, he was able to increase his acrylic production volume from 10 m² per week upto 1,200 to 1,500 m² per week at present. This equates to roughly 30% of the total workload. Alongside this increase, he was able to reduce the number of rejected products from 20% to 1%. This impressive increase in productivity in acrylic processing is achieved by using laser technology. This article highlights the differences between laser cutting machines and milling machines and explains how using a laser increases productivity.

Increase productivity: Advantages of laser technology in acrylic processing

1. Higher productivity thanks to fewer process steps

The biggest advantage of laser cutting cast acrylic is the flame-polished cut edge. The is automatically created by the laser cutting process, whereas milling requires time-consuming and costly flame polishing. The laser not only removes the additional processing step, it also removes the possibility of human error rendering the product unusable during the additional process. 

2. Lower maintenance costs and fewer rejected products

Laser cutting and engraving is a contactless process. This means that tools are not worn out during processing and the running costs for maintenance and replacement are eliminated. The cutting result can also be easily replicated in future jobs while the risk of rejected products is greatly reduced. 

3. High quality and productivity in acrylic processing

Due to contact processing, milling generates a lot of dust. This affects the quality of the result, because dust and swarf scratch the material. 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, which in turn 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 minimises material waste. Whole sheets are optimised in a wide variety of jobs, allowing 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?

Thanks to 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 is that it allows you to broaden your product offering and generate additional revenue. This is largely due to some applications being impossible to create using a milling machine. Fine details cannot be created and 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 colours will partially peel off. Laser cutting machines offer significant benefits in these processes including reducing rejected materials. The machine operator is also 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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