Laser Cutting in the Automotive Industry
The automotive industry is a huge industry, encompassing everything from the designing, developing, producing and manufacturing of automotive vehicles, and finishing with the testing, marketing and selling of said vehicles.
There are hundreds of thousands of varying parts, pieces and people involved in the process along each step of the way. With so many different processes involved, it can seem complicated to ensure that it all runs smoothly towards building a safe and roadworthy vehicle.
Laser cutting is one process that is used at various stages of automotive manufacture to ensure the end product is reliable and safe for the consumer. In the article below, we have examined this in more detail.
Just like the automobiles that are manufactured, the automotive industry itself is a well-oiled machine from start to finish. The first automobile was invented in the 1880s, so it’s had decades to become the staple part of society that it is today.
Today, around 80 million automobiles are sold each year globally, which is the equivalent of around 220,000 automobiles a day. Clearly, that is a huge number of vehicles that are sold daily, and so the right measures have to be in place to ensure that each and every automobile is of a high enough quality.
Further still, the average car has around 30,000 parts in it! That’s 6,600,000,000, parts out the door every single day! So the importance of having reliable and efficient processes in place that cannot be understated. That’s why cutting with lasers is so valuable to the automotive industry.
Why is laser cutting used in the automotive industry?
Putting its specific benefits and advantages aside for just one moment, cutting with a laser is one of the most used processes in the automobile industry, and any manufacturing industry for that matter. It involves the process of cutting materials and shapes down to size, and this is something that is widely used when it comes to creating intricate and complicated products.
However, laser cutting itself provides a unique alternative to other forms of traditional cutting that are on the market. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that users can deliver extremely precise finishes with smooth edges, heightening the end product and reducing material waste. Laser-based cutting also uses an extremely low power consumption, it has low maintenance costs, and can be used for multiple applications, reducing time wastage too.
Finally, it is one of the safest processes available. Laser cutting is required to be conducted in an enclosed, tight light box, whereas more traditional and conventional methods see a free-running blade doing the cutting. While steps are taken to ensure that conventional methods are safe, laser cutting simply provides those in the manufacturing industry with one less thing to worry about.
How is laser cutting used?
Thanks to the huge number of benefits and features shown above, it is unsurprising that the process finds multiple uses within the automotive industry. We’ve explored some of these applications here.
Automotive carriage components
Automobiles today aren’t like the ones designed and produced decades ago. The parts and components now are much smaller and more complicated, such as with apertures for antennas, and laser cutting is the most reliable process for this.
Hydroformed parts, that is metal parts that have been formed into 3D shapes, are crucial parts for any automobile. Laser cutting is one of the best processes for cutting these shapes smoothly and with absolute accurate precision.
One of the biggest benefits of using laser cutting is that it’s not just metal it can cut; it can work with a great number of other materials too. This includes cloth for airbags. Of course, a blade from a conventional process could cut cloth too, but laser cutting has the added advantage of melting the edges extremely quickly, which leaves no fraying.
Looking for more information?
As you’ve seen from this short article, laser cutting is an extremely valuable part of the automotive manufacturing process, and is one of the reasons that the millions of cars on our roads operate as safely as they do.
However, thanks to its versatile nature, it’s not just in automotive where it’s use is so valuable. You will also find it used in the aerospace, electronics, medical and semi-conductor industries too. For more information on how this process might be useful to your industry, or for information on our range of Fiber Lasers suitable for laser cutting, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.