Maybe that latest nitrogen bill from your supplier has convinced you to examine assist gas alternatives for your laser cutting machine. You’ve looked at prices and decided to give compressed air/shop air a try.
Not so Fast
As we touched on in an earlier SecturaSOFT blog post, shop air can be a great choice for laser cutting. It is relatively inexpensive when compared to other gasses and produces a clean cut. But is it right for your metal processing applications?
Take a close look at the parts being cut and understand the degree to which edge quality is:
- A) Not Important
- B) Nice to Have
- C) Important
- D) Critical
When edge quality is non-negotiable (such as for medical, aerospace, or food industry applications) nitrogen or oxygen remain the better options.
Quality is King
But before you go to the trouble, and expense to switch a machine over to air, run some tests to confirm that air is the best gas for your applications. Taking the time to do this will save money in the long run.
Remember all your customers care about is quality, cost, and delivery. Cost savings on your end don’t matter if they come at the expense of quality.
Making the Jump
OK. You’ve done your homework and are ready to give shop air a try. Now what? Is switching assist gasses as easy as flipping a switch?
Not exactly. But fortunately, the process to adapt existing laser cutters for air is relatively easy and cost-effective. Even most older model lasers can be retrofitted for compressed air usage. Although there is an initial investment for the proper equipment, tapping compressed air as an assist gas will generate sustainable cost savings and time savings while boosting productivity.
Ask your machine tool dealer about options to make your equipment shop air compatible. It could be well worth the time and investment.
Here’s another way to maximize your cutting machine investment. SecturaSOFT automates the quoting process to generate more winning bids. Our powerful quoting engine can be customized to your specific quoting methods.