With a CO2 flatbed laser, demanding cutting tasks succeed without any problems. We show examples of laser cutting applications for the clean and flexible cutting of materials.
Depending on the material and thickness, the precise cutting of plates or fabrics requires different tools. Our FAQ “Cutting technologies in comparison" describes the advantages and disadvantages of the different technologies.
The advantages of laser cutting are:
- In all application areas of laser cutting, it is a wear-free process.
- Sharply contoured lines, curves and cut-outs are easy to implement
- Synthetic fabrics are immediately sealed against fraying thanks to the minimal heat input into the edge material More information: Cutting of technical plastics
Laser cutting therefore offers many advantages over conventional cutting processes and has proven itself in meeting a wide variety of requirements. The scope ranges from production, even under clean room conditions, to artistic use when cutting acrylic sheets for trade fair and decorative purposes.
Two very interesting examples below from different application areas show the great application potential of laser cutting :
- Chemical, food and pharmaceutical production
- Advertising technology and digital printing
Let's look at a first application of laser cutting:
Process systems, such as centrifuges, suction filters and dryers, in chemical, food and pharmaceutical production depend on hygienically-manufactured filter products.
Kögel Filter GmbH Contecma-Filtration in Landau has specialized in the production of such filter inserts. Depending on the system, all kinds of shapes are required, from simple circular blanks to hoses to filter cloths with a wide range of cut-outs. The basis for production are fabrics and fleeces on rollers with a width of approx. 2.6 m and a length of up to 100 m. The range of materials includes PP, PE, PA and PTFE.
Product recommendation for this application : laser cutter SP3000.
This large format laser cutter is an asset for many laser cutting applications. The filter experts rely on the SP3000 large-format laser machine to process this range of shapes and materials.
- With a cutting area of 2210 x 3210 mm, it offers enough space to cut larger parts or, optionally, multiple small parts.
- The beam power of the CO2 laser system can be set between 40 and 400 W and allows the finest cuts in which the edges of the fabric or fleece materials are sealed immediately.
“As the market leader with clean room production in Germany for filter products for solid-liquid separation and gas filtration, we see ourselves as problem solvers and process optimizers for our customers. In order to optimally design the respective filters for their intended use, we rely on a very flexible cutting system. The laser machine allows us to deliver even complicated structures for prototypes within two to three days and thus to respond quickly to special customer requests.”
Laser cutting under clean room conditions.
The well thought-out design of the actual laser plotter SP3000 meets the clean room conditions very well, which means that even very demanding filters for medical or pharmaceutical technology can be cut without any problems. The exhaust system, which is located directly in the cutting head, traps all vapors and particles directly at the point of origin and guides them out of the clean room. With this customer-specific solution, the exhaust system and cooling was installed in the suspended ceiling outside of the clean room; in this way, the conditions according to ISO 7 / GMP C are not disturbed during operation.
Tino Fidler adds: “Our filters have to be produced under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), so manufacturing under clean room conditions was essential. The Trotec laser machine easily meets the requirements for clean room production and is an important addition to previous cutting solutions”
Compared to the usual manual work with cutting tools, parts with many cutouts and incisions in particular can be produced quickly and with sharp contours. The rapid production of often complex shapes is required, especially for prototypes and different stages of development. Thanks to the laser machine, the Landau specialists can respond very quickly and flexibly. As the large-format laser machine can also work “off the roll” 24/7, larger production batches, e.g. for contract manufacturing of filter cloths, can also be completed in a timely manner.
Another exciting area of application for laser cutting.
Our customer Visual Information Systems GmbH in Krailling near Munich serves a completely different area of application with display trade fair systems and signage and display production. Primarily, digitally printed sheets of Plexiglas/acrylic glass, cardboard or wood with a thickness of up to 20 mm are lasered into shape. As the individual parts are often fitted together without play e.g. in the case of support feet of display stands, a precise and sharply-contoured cut is essential.
Other products such as small 3D displays for table decorations or name tags require very small cutting radii and printed panels with figures need to be cut precisely along the image. This is where conventional cutting processes e.g. with milling heads, reach their limits due to their minimum thickness of around 3 mm. In addition, more waste is produced during machining, which has to be disposed of.
Product recommendation for this application : SP500.
That’s why Visual chose an SP500 CO2 laser cutting machine with a work area of 1250 x 710 mm, which can also cut out larger displays or templates from the raw panels. Due to the large pass-through area of the laser machine, even surfaces the size of a door leaf can still be easily processed.
“We manufacture a wide range of products, so a very flexible cutting system is crucial for us. With the laser system, you can cut out all contours, from the smallest table display with an edge length of approx. 5 cm to the size of a table or door leaf (Image 8). A sharply-contoured cutting line along the printed surface is particularly important for printed displays. The laser beam also allows the finest recesses for which a milling head would simply be too big.”
The art of cutting.
The range of applications for laser cutting is as broad as the possibilities are diverse. In order to create 3D effects with printed sheets, different sections often have to be combined. Thanks to the precise laser cut, the individual parts can be perfectly fitted together without glue and easily dismantled. For other tasks, such as cutting out templates for labeling with paint, very fine lines are possible.
“As the laser machine is relatively easy to set up, different cutting patterns can be combined or leftover and larger cutouts can be processed for smaller products. This reduces both the costs and the amount of waste enormously”, Ditcher continues. “We are now even more flexible when it comes to the artistic design of trade fair items or unusual advertising items and can also respond even faster to customer requests.”
The laser machine can be used to cut out delicate works of art e.g. for the design of an exterior facade or to improve room furnishings with molded parts or contour images. As there is practically no waste when cutting and the material utilization is very good, laser production also protects the environment and your wallet.
Laser cutting with the SP Series.
Laser cutting has established itself as a reliable and economical alternative to mechanical cutting methods. Depending on the cutting job, different types of lasers are used, which differ in structure, light wavelength and power.
One version that can be used universally is the SP CO2 flatbed laser series from Trotec. This offers the possibility of processing large formats in one piece, for example from sheets or rolls, as well as usefully working up smaller leftover pieces. Depending on the design, this flatbed series offers five variants for an area of 1250 x 710 mm to 3250 x 3210 mm.