Laser cutting speed is generally determined by the average power level of the machine and does have a noticeable impact on performance, but this depends on a number of factors. The impact is influenced by material type and thickness, focal spot size, gas type and pressure, beam quality and nozzle shape.

As a typical parameter, the higher the average power level, the higher the cutting speed. But how does this then affect performance and cut quality?

Laser Cutting Tolerance

As well as cutting speed, the larger the average power level also means the thicker the cutting board. As the power increases or decreases, this is when burning or slagging defects occur.

Another general pattern is as the cutting speed increases, the slit width decreases, and vice versa. The cutting speed and slit width maintain a nonlinear inverse relationship when the power and gas are specified.

Laser Cutting Speed for Different Processes

Continuous Wave Mode

Continuous Wave (CW) is when the laser power output is constant and high cutting speeds can be achieved during high power levels in CW-mode. This will melt or vaporise the material leaving comparatively little heat conduction into the base material.

In spite of this, if the cutting direction is reversed or moves around a sharp corner, the feed rate is reduced. This then leads to more heat being conducted to the base metal, resulting in worsened cut quality.

Pulsed Processing

Pulsed processing is used for piercing holes into materials and produces better quality finishes for such applications compared to CW-mode. Both high power and low average power have the ability to produce good quality cutting and performance.

High peak power ensures efficient heating and speed, effectively removing hot material from the kerf. Low average power keeps the workpiece cool and leaves little heat conduction which commonly leads to quality issues.

Correlation Between Laser Cutting Speed and Performance

Overall, you can see that the impact cutting speed has on performance depends on your application and method. Although the general rule is that the higher the average power levels means the faster the cutting speed, this isn’t generally best for some materials and projects.

Our sales and production teams have a wide variety of skills, so contact us for more advice or information regarding laser cutting processes.