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Technology Laser micro-machining for straight edges, smooth surfaces

Editor: Eric Culp

Micro-cutting with ultra-short pulse lasers and special optics allows for right-angled cuts in the µm range without post-processing. The technique can replace wire-electro discharge machining, according to its proponent.

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Precision cutting with fibre lasers creates surfaces (seen here) that are much rougher than those made with pulse lasers.
Precision cutting with fibre lasers creates surfaces (seen here) that are much rougher than those made with pulse lasers.
(Source: GFH)

Laser systems have established themselves as the standard for many cutting processes in the last few years due to their speed and flexibility. Up until now, the precision blanking of high-precision components has been an exception to this trend, German machine tool maker GFH GmbH explained, since accuracy was still lower than traditional electrical discharge machining (EDM) with cutting wire because of the heat input and occasionally blurred cutting geometry.

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Better quality than EDM; smooth surfaces, too

However, the company has reported that it now offers a system which combines an ultra-short pulse laser (USP) with “trepanning” optics, which deflect laser light along a circular path at a given diameter. This technique is said to allow the unit to produce sharp cutting edges even with right-angled contours in a quality exceeding that of wire-electro discharge machining. The company reported that the tolerances for tracing of the cutting lines are within the range of a few micrometres for this laser cutting process, and the average roughness of the resulting surfaces is reportedly less than 0.3 µm.

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