5 reasons why a laser increases productivity

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

Why does a laser cutter increase productivity in acrylic processing?

I am a Product Manager at Trotec responsible for the large format laser cutters. Recently, I received some very positive customer feedback. The owner of a digital printing company sent a thank you message via LinkedIn. After purchasing a Trotec SP3000, he was able to increase the volume of his acrylic production from 10 m² per week to currently 1,200 to 1,500 m² per week. This corresponds to about 30% of the total production workload of his company. In addition to this increase, he was also able to reduce the reject rate from 20% to 1%. This impressive increase in acrylic processing productivity has been achieved by using laser technology. Why is this possible? 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 polished edges automatically as it cuts, whereas milling does not. Milling requires the additional time-consuming and costly step of flame polishing, which also carries the risk of damaging the workpiece and making it unusable. A laser eliminates this risk and the additional processing step completely.

2. Lower maintenance costs and fewer rejects

The laser works without any physical contact with the material. This means that there are no worn out tools that need to be re-sharpened or replaced and these additional running costs are eliminated. In addition, repeatability of the cutting result is easily achieved and the reject rate is reduced.

3. High quality and productivity in acrylic processing

Milling produces a lot of dust and swarf. This affects the quality of the finish because dust and swarf can easily scratch the material being processed. In addition to this, the dust/swarf generated while milling, contaminates the air around the operator and also builds up quickly on acrylic sheets due to the static charge. This dust build up prevents a satisfactory print quality across the entire surface.

4. Less waste

The nesting capability of the laser software minimises material waste. Whole sheets can be optimised for a wide variety of jobs. This means that costly energy-intensive acrylic is used sparingly, further reducing unit costs.

5. Focus on overall costs

Processing acrylic with a milling machine results in high processing costs. It is advisable to include all the costs in the calculation.

Interested in more information?

Due to the lower processing 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: New products can be produced, leading to additional business opportunities. Some products simply cannot be made with a milling machine. Very fine details cannot be milled, and sharp inner corners are not possible due to the radius of the milling tool. The mechanical forces that arise as a result of the spinning of the tool and movement of the milling head can also cause product parts to break off or even be ejected during cutting. The vibrations that also occur while milling can often cause any already printed hardened colours to begin to peel off. Yet another reason why using laser technology for acrylic processing drastically reduces the number of rejects. In addition, the machine operator is better protected from dust and tool movement. 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 specialises in the areas of advertising technology, digital printing, textile processing and technical textiles. He combines an eye for the big picture with a love for detail.
Proud member of troGROUP Logo