When hearing the term “exotic metals” one might be tempted to assume that we’re talking about artistic, delicate, or purely aesthetic applications. We typically think of brass or copper in this way. And while these metals are certainly prevalent in these circles, exotic metals are also common throughout industries that are anything but delicate. Exotic metals are important in applications where quality, durability and tight tolerance are absolutely critical. These metals are a great fit for laser cutting as the parts are often produced more quickly compared to other cutting or machining processes. The laser process usually creates cleaner edges resulting in less slag, and straight non-tapered edges than one might see from plasma cutting for example. This cut quality is vital in delivering the extremely high quality, performance, and structural integrity that the market expects.
Often used in aerospace, medical and other industries where quality and durability cannot be compromised, titanium is nearly as light as aluminum; yet stronger than steel. Because of its strength and weight advantages, titanium is key to industries such as aerospace and medical. Due to its cost, titanium is not used very often in everyday applications. Similar to titanium, super alloys, such as Hastelloy, are desirable because of their strength, ability to tolerate extremely high temperatures, and resistance to corrosion. Like titanium these materials are often used in aerospace applications such as turbine engines.
Armor plate must perform in harsh yet equally demanding applications where failure is not an option. It’s hard to imagine anything more vital than the armor plating encasing a military vehicle. This exotic metal must have a precise fit while maintaining unsurpassed strength and durability.
Exotic metals are the material of choice when structural integrity, durability, clean parts, tight tolerances, and edge quality are non-negotiable. This helps ensure the best fit for welding operations and overall quality to operate in the manner in which they are intended. Whether for the aesthetics of stainless steel kitchen appliances or the critical performance of a jet engine, exotic metals have a special role and lasers have a unique role to play in the processing of those materials.