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New Progress in Laser Cutting
A. Wetzig, L. D. Scintilla, C. Goppold, R. Baumann, P. Herwig, A. Mahrle, A. Furst, J. Hauptmann and E. Beyer

Laser cutting of plastic material was one of the first applications done by CO2 lasers in the early days of laser material processing since thicknesses of more than 1.0 mm could be cut with laser power of a few hundred Watts. Since many years cutting by means of high power CO2 lasers in the typical power range up to 6.0 kW has been well established. A distinction is drawn between using oxygen (reactive gas cutting) and inert gas (fusion cutting) as assist gas which rejects the molten material. Mild steel with material thickness up to 30.0 mm can be laser cut [1]. Meanwhile, high brightness solid state lasers like disk or fibre lasers are capturing the market for laser cutting applications [2]. High power solid state lasers with single mode beam quality allow cutting without using assist gas that is called laser remote cutting. This is a fairly new process suitable to cut thin metallic materials with high velocities. Another field with huge potential for lasers is cutting of non-metals like plastic, composite material, fabrics, paper, cardboard and many more besides.

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