Laser Cutting Dust Collection
Laser cutting is popular for its high cutting speed and precision. It is used in a wide variety of applications. Laser cutting vaporizes the cut material or blasts it away with a jet of gas. Both mechanisms produce smoke and fumes that require laser cutting fume extraction.
While plasma cutting can handle thicker pieces of metal, laser cutting produces very precise cuts and very clean edges. Industrial laser cutting machines typically use one of two types of lasers.
- CO2 lasers and other gas state lasers, usually nitrogen or oxygen, often used when cutting non-metals, less powerful but also much less expensive than solid-state lasers
- Solid-state lasers, using crystals or optical fibers made of special materials (such as neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet, or Nd:YAG), which are high-powered but much more expensive to purchase and replace
Methods of cutting with lasers include:
- Fusion cutting (the material is melted and then blasted away by an inert gas)
- Chemical degradation (used on organic material like wood that burns when heated)
- Evaporation cutting (usually used on plastics and acrylics, produces a very clean cut)
- Thermal stress cracking (usually used on glass, which breaks along the heat-created crack)
- Oxidation or reactive cutting (often used to cut metal, since oxygen reacts with the metal to speed up the cutting)
All these processes produce smoke and fumes requiring a laser cutting fume extraction system. The exact design of the system will depend on the type of cutting process and the material being cut. Because laser cutting tends to produce less fumes than plasma cutting, a laser fume collector may not need to be as large.
Laser cutting dust may or may not be combustible. If it’s not known whether the material is combustible, a sample will be sent for testing. This will determine the fire safety features needed to meet NFPA and OSHA standards.
When looking for a laser cutting fume extractor, consider the company’s experience in this application. The CMAXX Laser is designed for laser cutting fumes, with a low profile and heavy-duty construction. Imperial Systems can work with you on a system that meets your specific needs.
For examples of some of our laser cutting fume extraction projects, feel free to see the case studies below. For more information on hazardous materials or combustible dust produced by metal cutting, please see our white papers for more details.