Extremely large in terms of both organizational size and monetary capital, the aerospace and defense industries have a tremendous need for high-performing and cost-effective technology. For this reason, laser cutting has become a key manufacturing component for government entities, such as NASA and all branches of the US military, as well as private space exploration initiatives, such as Virgin Galactic and SpaceX.
Applications of Laser Cutting in the Aerospace and Defense Industries
The principal use of laser cutting in the aerospace and defense industries is the creation of component parts for a variety of equipment and machines. The most commonly used material in aerospace, aluminum alloy requires a highly precise finish that is simply unattainable when employing other cutting methods.
Manufacturers in the aerospace and defense sectors are also extremely reliant on composite materials and the laser cutting processes that are used to machine them into precision parts. Unapparelled in terms of functional strength and stiffness-to-density ratios, composite materials represent both the present and the future of aerospace and defense component production.
An extremely versatile machining method, laser cutting can pierce through a wide variety of tremendously hard materials into specific shapes and sizes for use as component parts in the manufacturing process. Among its other unique benefits, laser cutting is faster and more economical than traditional cutting and machining methods. It is also highly efficient and environmentally friendly as it produces significantly less waste material than other cutting methods.
CO2 Lasers vs. Fiber Lasers
One of the essential considerations for any aerospace or defense industry organization in need of laser cutting services is using a modality and laser wavelength that are both appropriate and effective for the task at hand. To accommodate a full spectrum of aerospace or defense industry needs, the experts at Micron Laser Technology employ multiple laser cutting tools to fabricate aerospace and defense components.
Two of the most useful tools for this purpose are CO2 lasers and fiber lasers.
Some of the first laser tools to play a prominent role in aerospace and defense manufacturing, CO2 (carbon dioxide) lasers produce beams of light with a wavelength in the far infrared spectrum at 10.6 micrometers, making them ideal for cutting and drilling non-metallic materials. These lasers employ helium as well as CO2 to excite photons and emit them as a concentrated stream of cutting light. With enough available power, CO2 can cut metals and metal alloys as well.
Fiber lasers, by contrast, have a near infrared wavelength of 1.07 micrometers and produce an extremely high-quality beam that can cut and drill holes into most metallic materials. The advent of fiber lasers has greatly improved the cutting the titanium alloys, which are quite common in the aerospace and defense fabrication sectors. The unique properties of fiber laser operation allow these tools to employ relatively cheap and widely available argon in place of the generally more expensive and difficult to obtain helium that the CO2 laser requires.
Praised as far smaller and cleaner than chemical processing by the manufacture engineering news source Aerospace & Defense, fiber lasers have seen a dramatic increase in popularity over the past decade. In the words of Aerospace & Defense contributor and Raytheon Intelligence & Space laser expert Iain McKinnie, “This has created an over $2-billion-dollar commercial fiber laser industry that can be leveraged by the defense industry.”
For More Information
A leading provider of laser cutting services with all relevant quality standard certifications, Micron Laser Technology fabricates a broad spectrum of precision shims, air bearing, gaskets, washers, EMI shields, and other metal parts for use in the aerospace and defense industries. Extremely durable and resistant to corrosion, these component parts are made to withstand the heavy wear and extreme conditions that are all too common in the aerospace and defense sectors.
Micron Laser specializes in Laser Cutting services
Micron Laser Technology provides a line of laser cutting services and manufacturing solutions that can be used to cut a wide variety of materials. Can your rapid prototyping or manufactured products benefit from laser cutting?
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the same day if submitted prior to the day’s end of the business.
To learn more about laser cutting for organizations in these sectors, contact Micron Laser Technology today or fill out a convenient contact information form to provide specific details about your laser cutting needs.