Normally blanking is the first step of the sheet metal fabrication, in many cases, laser cutting and punching both can be used for the blanking, especially for the thin material. But they are also different on many different cases, here we introduce how to choose between laser cutting and punching.
1. If the material is thin material, generally it is under 3mm, and if the holes of the part are only the standard small holes without big contour, then laser cutting and punching both are ok for this type of application, but we recommend punching, the reason is that the running cost of punching is lower than laser cutting, and the speed is faster or similar comparing to the laser cutting.
2. If the material is thin material, but there are many big contours in the part, then choosing laser cutting will be better, the reason is that cutting the big contour by the laser will be much faster than by the punch press. if the part needs the forming technology, you must choose the punch press.
3. If the material is thick material, the laser will be better. Normally up to 3mm is the best thickness for punching, 4mm, 5mm and 6mm is also ok for punching, but punching 4-6mm material is not good for the machine and the waste of the tools is much bigger as using 3 mm material. For the laser, the thickness of the material can be much bigger than the punching, for example 4kw laser can cut the mild steel up to 20mm, stainless steel up to 15mm.
With the development of the fiber laser cutting machine, the laser power is higher and higher, the speed is faster and faster, and the running cost of laser cutting is lower and lower, more and more punching applications were already replaced with the laser cutting.
Lintal will constantly share the professional knowledge about the sheet metal fabrication, if you have any question about sheet metal fabrication, please contact us.