The Benefits of Laser Technology in Manufacturing

Laser technology was pioneered in the mid-twentieth century and has come a long way since the first prototype. Today, lasers are one of the most popular tools in the manufacturing industry. And for good reason—lasers have allowed us to effortlessly perform complex processes with ultrafine outcomes.

The Benefits of Laser Technology

More Accurate

The advanced laser beams of today can be focused down to a thousandth of a millimeter. This means that any measuring, marking, or cutting can be done with absolute precision.

With computer chips and medical device components getting increasingly minuscule, laser technology offers superior accuracy and consistency that cannot be achieved with traditional machining equipment.

Laser cuts are also incredibly clean, leaving no distortion or burrs on the remaining material. This negates the need for an additional step to clean or finish the product after laser processing.

Easy to Automate

With Industry 4.0 focusing on automation and the integration of technology with manufacturing, laser technology can easily be added to production lines to achieve unprecedented standardization.

Using lasers in manufacturing can lead to shorter cycle times, less maintenance, and more cost-effective production. Previously labor-intensive and error-prone operations can be done simply and flawlessly.

When laser technology is combined with automation, processes can be completed at astonishing speeds. Lasers are currently the quickest method of cutting and welding on the production line.

Flexible Uses

Lasers can work on a diverse range of materials including fabric, plastic, glass, and metal. Because laser parameters can be adjusted at any time, a single laser can perform numerous manufacturing tasks such as cleaning, etching, cutting, or welding.

Unlike other comparable technologies, most laser machines are contactless, allowing them to be used on objects of various geometrical complexities while maintaining the integrity of their surfaces.

Investing in laser equipment has a high return on investment as it reduces redundancies and streamlines operations. The applications of lasers are increasing each day, providing more potential for the manufacturing floor.

Better for the Environment

Lasers use a fraction of the energy of their conventional counterparts. More efficient energy consumption is essential for companies who want to lower production costs and reduce their emissions and carbon output.

Lasers can also replace manufacturing methods that require consumables like welding fluxes, steel grits, or ink and labels. This prevents a considerable amount of waste and avoids the emissions associated with having to produce and transport these consumables as well.

Finally, laser equipment can be remarkably compact, allowing manufacturers to build more economical production lines and work within a smaller, more optimized factory footprint.

Top Applications of Lasers

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting uses a focused high-power laser beam to rapidly irradiate material and produce very fine cuts or patterns. Lasers can effortlessly slice through dense materials such as titanium or steel with smooth incisions and no mechanical or heat stress in the surrounding areas.

Laser cutting technology is superior to conventional cutting machines because its operations can be performed at ultrafast speeds, with micron-level precision and repeatable consistency. Since the material stays stationary during the whole process it does not sustain any surface wear.

Laser Engraving

Laser engraving uses the same laser beam to make a material’s surface vaporize instantly as it marks out a barcode, character, or pattern. Laser engraving is now one of the most popular marking methods due to its fast production speed and quick repetition cycles.

UV laser engraving is extremely powerful and is commonly used to imprint permanent unique identification numbers on components and products to ensure manufacture traceability. UV laser engraving is highly durable and can be applied on surfaces that are flat or curved.

Laser Welding

Laser welding is very effective for complex materials that cannot be handled by conventional methods. It works by using laser radiation to melt material down to a molten and joinable state. No electrodes are needed and therefore no contamination or deformation to the material occurs.

A large range of materials can be welded together by laser, including two different kinds of metals or a metal and a plastic. Although laser welding is precise enough to form welds smaller than a millimeter, these welds are much stronger than they would be if using traditional soldering or glue.

Laser Texturing

Laser texturing uses controlled laser ablation to remove specific materials from the surface of an object. This process is generally used to create additional roughness and textural micro-patterns such as dimples and freeform grooves on a material’s surface.

Creating surface textures can improve the performance of certain components. For example, rough textures on medical implants can provide additional surface area for new tissue to anchor. Likewise, laser textured mechanical seals have improved lubricant retention and durability.

Laser technology is quickly replacing many tedious mechanical processes. Automated laser machines create safer manufacturing floors by eliminating risky manual processes. Through investing in laser technology, manufacturers can improve productivity, lower operation costs, reduce maintenance, and produce exceptionally accurate and repeatable results.