I have researched the following
companies and compared the two methods of production.
I focused on the companies
Diamond Precision Engineering and L.G.M Engineering.
Diamond and Precision Engineering
use the process of laser cutting. Laser cutting is a precise method of cutting
a design into a range of materials, such as: acrylic wood, metal, paper etc.
The machine uses a laser which cuts by melting, burning, or vaporizing your
material. It relies on a gas laser such as CO2. You can achieve a fine level of
cutting detail with a wide variety of materials. Depending on the material you
would like to laser cut, the correct settings for laser power and speed are
crucial, e.g. if your cutting a material such as metal, the power would have to
be high and the speed would have to be slow, whereas if you’re cutting a
material such as paper, the power would have to be low and the speed would have
to be fast.
How it works:
In order to use a laser cutter
effectively, there are a number of instructions that go with the use for this
a design on CAD software e.g. 2D design
the design to the laser cutter
the speed and power settings
the material on the laser bed – no clamping required
the laser- ensure extraction is turned on to extract harmful fumes.
laser cut product.
Laser cutting can be used for
components and parts for any industry because of the impeccable precision it
Benefits and Drawbacks:
Compared to Water Jet cutting,
Laser cutting is highly accurate, which means there’s less wasted material, also
time efficient. It is also able to cut intricate shapes and small holes and
produce excellent cut quality.
However, laser cutters have high energy
consumption and it requires cooling.
The production rate isn’t consistent
either, it all depends on the material, the thickness of the work-piece and the
nature of laser cutting.
Since laser cutting relies on gas
lasers such as CO2, harmful fumes can be produced from it, and if the extraction
isn’t turned on, users can become ill from the fumes released from the machine.
L.G.M use the process of waterjet
cutting. A waterjet cutter uses pressurized water to erode a narrow line in the
stock material. Waterjet cutters can cut any material that can be made into
sheet form. In order to cut a wider range of materials from tool steel to
titanium to foam, a granular abrasive is added to the waterjet, increasing
cutting power. It is easy to switch between water only and abrasive waterjet
cutting because of the abrasive being attached to the nozzle. This flexibility
improves the versatility of a waterjet cutting machine. Waterjet cutters are being
used in Formula 1 to make precision parts. This process is also used in
aviation and medicines and many other industries.
Waterjet cutting can be used for
jobs where it’s critical to ensure there’s no damage or weakening of the
structure. Waterjet cutting can be described as accelerated erosion. It doesn’t
damage the structural integrity of the object being cut
Benefits and Drawbacks:
The waterjet cutter can cut any
material compared to the laser cutter, but it’s not as precise as the laser cutter.
It struggles to cope with small, thin parts because of the high force used.
Unlike the laser cutter, the water jet cutter doesn’t create hazardous waste,
however when a material is cut, the surface of the material appears sand-blasted
because of the added abrasive to the water jet. The waterjet cutting machine has
a lower energy consumption compared to the laser cutter. The greater the
thickness, the lower the accuracy because of the distance between the stream and
the nozzle. This process is less time efficient compared to the laser cutter.