NITROGEN FOR LASER APPLICATIONS
Optic fibre technology effectively revolutionised the laser sector, leading nitrogen to become the main supporting gas in laser cutting processes.
Oxygen has therefore become less important and is now only used in laser cutting for extra-thick carbon steels and to cut copper.
Fibre laser technology has introduced on the market laser sources with truly high power levels (8-10-12 kW). They are now included in the catalogues of almost all manufacturers and 20 kW sources, which are currently being tested, are expected to be sold on the market in a few years.
Having high power means laser machines can cut at high pressure, i.e. using nitrogen, and reach incredible performance levels. These laser machines allow for truly high cutting speeds, in some cases even 7/8 higher than CO2 lasers, though this only applies to the high pressure nitrogen cutting process.
A complete revolution is therefore underway in the laser cutting sector. Except for the extra thicknesses of carbon steel, all other materials are processed by using nitrogen as a process gas. Where once carbon steel was cut using oxygen at pressure values from 0.5 to 2 bar, nowadays cutting is carried out with nitrogen from 8.5 to 18 bar. This means there is clearly the need to keep the cost of cutting gas provisioning under control.
By cutting carbon steel with nitrogen, you obtain a white cut and completely eliminate the light blue film on the cutting surface, which was a serious inconvenience at the welding and painting stage.