Coil Fed Laser Cutting Machine: Top Benefits and Applications

Laser Blanking Disks From Steel Sheets
This detailed article discusses the basics of coil-fed laser cutting, its benefits over traditional solutions, and its many applications in modern manufacturing.

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Sheet metal is one of the most versatile industrial materials in manufacturing. Processing it has always been challenging. Manually loading and unloading sheet metal is tedious and time-consuming. Coil-fed laser cutting has recently become popular as the most efficient metal processing technique, primarily due to its fast and automatic sheet metal feed.

This article discusses the basics of coil-fed laser cutting and identifies its benefits and applications in modern manufacturing processes.

What is Coil-Fed Laser Cutting?

Coil-fed laser cutting is a sheet metal blanking technique. It uses a CNC (computer numerical controlled) laser beam to precisely and accurately cut shapes out of a large sheet metal coil. A standout feature of coil-fed laser cutting is the decoiler that automatically unwinds the large sheet metal coil and continuously feeds it to the laser head.

Blanking refers to the process of cutting shapes out of flat metal sheets. 

Technical Data for Coil-Fed Laser Cutting Machine

Laser-cutting machines are powerful tools capable of some impressive feats. The technical data below shows the upper limits of this technology.

  • Coil Width – up to 80 inches.
  • Coil Length – up to 6500 ft. (2000m)
  • Coil Weight – up to 55,000 Lbs. (25 tons)
  • Coil Thickness – 0.01 inches to 0.24 inches (0.3mm-6mm)
  • Cutting Speed – 4 inches/min (100mm/min)
  • Laser Power – up to 10kW

Coil-Fed Laser Cutting vs. Traditional Solutions

A major challenge in sheet metal fabrication is handling sheet metal coils. Manually feeding sheet metal onto a cutting machine, laser or otherwise, is a tough task. The coils are very heavy and must be straightened before cutting. 

Fully Automated Feed Mechanism

Decoiler and Straightner Setup

The fully automated operation of coil-fed laser cutting machines eliminates the need for manual loading and unloading. They use a decoiler and straightener set to handle the sheet metal feed system.

After cutting, most sheet metal parts must undergo a forming process that bends, presses, and molds the blank shape into a usable final item. As forming is a core element of most manufacturing processes, slowdowns in the cutting process will result in production delays across the board. 

Automattic sheet metal feed has significantly reduced cutting times, ensuring faster and more cost-effective production.

8 Benefits of Coil Fed Laser Cutting

Laser Blanking on Stainless Steel Sheet

Coil-fed laser cutting offers several advantages over traditional mechanical blanking tools. Here are a few of the biggest benefits of this process for your business.

1. Energy Efficiency

Laser cutting technology is highly energy efficient, especially with its powerful fiber laser source. Industrial energy bills are no joke, and every little bit helps keep overall power consumption low.

The cost savings from switching to the laser-cutting process can be invested in other sectors of your business.

2. Faster Cutting Speed

Coil-fed laser cutting is also incredibly fast at processing sheet metal. The process is automated, and the blanking lines (the conveyor belt) run continuously until the sheet metal coil runs out. Manual cutting techniques require frequent material loading and unloading, slowing production.

Die-less cutting also helps keep the process running efficiently. Punch and die blanking lines halt the production during die changes. Lasers provide production flexibility by removing the need for die changes.

3. Enhanced Flexibility & Versatility

Lasers can easily cut through various coil materials, including steel, aluminum, and high-strength steel. Thicker materials also make it no challenge to cut by laser. You can either increase the laser power or reduce the cutting speed to compensate for the thickness of the coil material.

4. Less Material Waste

Coil-fed laser cutting has excellent spatial management features that keep the material waste to a minimum. Designs and patterns are adjusted such that the maximum surface of sheet metal is used during the cutting process.

The laser cutting system is more precise and accurate, resulting in zero cutting mistakes and preventing further material loss.

5. Increased Production Capacity

Businesses looking to switch to a coil-fed laser cutting system will see lower production costs and higher production capacity. Due to their no-contact cutting process, Lasers ensure continuous cutting without interruption.

6. Fully Automated Operation

Automation plays a huge role in optimizing your factory operations. Coil-fed laser cutting is an incredible process as it is fully automated with only minor inputs required from the operator.

A typical laser cutting setup involves the operator loading the decoiler with sheet metal and inputting the cutting design into the CNC system. The machine then automatically cuts the desired shapes without human intervention.

7. Higher Quality Finish

A major benefit of laser cutting operations is the cleaner edge finish. Lasers cut through metals without radiating heat to the surroundings, preventing burnt and melted edges.

Laser cutting is also a burr-free technique that limits the need for post-processing.

8. Cost Savings

All the benefits of coil-fed laser cutting condense into major cost savings for your business.

  • Energy-efficient lasers consume less power, resulting in lower electricity bills.
  • Minimal material waste means you can produce more parts from the same material.
  • Finally, faster production speed means more parts are produced daily, lowering the cost per part.

Applications of Coil Fed Laser Cutting

Laser Cutting Copper Elements

Coil-fed laser cutting is ideal for any industry that relies on large-volume production of flat metal parts. The following is a list of industries and their utilization of coil-fed laser cutting.

1. Automotive Industry

The automotive industry produces thousands of sheet metal parts that go through press lines to be bent and molded body panels. Businesses on such a large scale always look for tools to reduce material waste.

Laser-cutting technology advancements have made coil-fed laser cutters an important part of the automotive industry.

2. Electronics Industry

Modern electronic enclosures are exclusively made with laser cutting systems. Electrical boxes, computer cases, server racks, and many other electronic components are made using coil-fed laser cutting.

3. Furniture Industry

Initially, the furniture industry may seem like an odd match for laser sheet metal cutting. However, metal parts are quite common in our modern furniture. From fully metal cabinets to support structures for wooden furniture, laser-cut metal is present all around our houses.

4. Kitchenware Production

Modern kitchen hardware such as knives, spoons, forks, and more are laser cut as blank shapes and later shaped and polished into their final design.

5. Home Appliances

Most home appliances are made of sheet metal skeletons with a plastic exterior. Large-scale production of blenders, juicers, coffee makers, etc., requires quick and affordable metal parts made from laser cutting.

6. Home Construction Work

Brackets and hinges are exclusively made using metal blanking techniques. Laser cutting brings greater material choices to the construction industry, enabling the use of mild steel, brass, and other alloys for hinge production.

7. Customized Solutions

Laser cutting has brought many advantages to the manufacturing sector. However, custom parts design might be the biggest and most impactful advantage. Laser cutting has enabled more businesses to step into rapid prototyping services.

Cutting smaller lot sizes has always been challenging, but with laser cutting, customers can get customized designs cut quickly and affordably. Businesses now use coil-fed laser cutters to produce elevators, smartphones, gym/sports equipment, and more parts.

Industry Application 
AutomotiveCar Body PanelsSmall Miscellaneous Parts
ElectronicsElectronics Enclosure
FurnitureMetal FramesCabinets
KitchenwareCutlery
Home AppliancesOvern, Microwave, and Stove CasingSmall Miscellaneous Parts
Home ConstructionBrackets & Hinges
Customized SolutionsElevators, Sports Equipment,  Rapid Prototyping, etc. 
Coil Fed Laser Cutting Applications and Industries

Key Components of Coil Fed Laser Cutting System

Schematic Diagram of Coil-Fed Laser Cutting Machine

A standard coil-fed laser cutting system has four main components with two optional add-ons that help with waste management.

1. Decoiler Station

The decoiler is a larger rotating device that unwinds the sheet metal coil and feeds it to the laser cutting system. It is a sturdy structure that can handle the massive weight of the metal coils.

The actual weight of sheet metal is determined by the coil material (steel, copper, zinc, aluminum, etc.), and the total length depends on the material thickness.

2. Paper Scrap Roller (Optional)

Sheet metal coils often have a layer of scrap paper rolled alongside the metal. The paper acts as a spacer, preventing unwanted surface scratches. A paper scrap roller works in parallel to the decoiler. As the decoiler unwinds the coil, the sheet metal goes to the feeder, and the paper goes to a separate roller (also called a recoiler).

Most metal coils don’t come with a paper layer. However, a paper spacer can help preserve the finish and polish of materials like stainless steel and nickel/chrome-plated metals.

3. Sheet Metal Straightener & Feeder

The feeder presses the sheet metal between two large rollers to flatten it before passing it to the laser cutting machine. This part is often sold as a metal leveling machine or sheet straightener.

Feeding the sheet metal to the laser without flattening it will result in devastating cutting errors.

4. Roller Conveyor

A roller conveyor is a simple delivery mechanism that acts as a bed for the sheet metal to rest during laser cutting and moves it once the cutting process is done. A good roller will smooth the material flow and reduce potential cutting mistakes.

This part is often called a conveyor belt or laser blanking line.

5. Laser Cutting System

The feeder sends the sheet metal into a large box that houses an entire laser cutting system, including the laser source, laser cutting head, and CNC control box.

Laser Source

Most laser cutting machines are configured with one of two laser sources: a fiber laser or a CO2 one. Fiber lasers are expensive but energy-efficient and precise, while CO2 ones are affordable but less precise and less energy-efficient.

Laser Head

The laser head is the exit point of the laser beam. It determines the laser thickness (spot diameter) and cutting speed. Some coil-fed laser cutters use multiple cutting heads for faster production. These laser heads cut through the thick material from opposite ends (front and back).

CNC Control Systems

CNC systems keep the entire cutting process running smoothly. They control the material feed rate, cutting speed of the laser heads, and precise movement.

The precision, accuracy, and productivity of laser cutting directly result from the CNC system.

6. Scrap Material Collector (Optional)

After the laser-cut parts leave the production line, a human operator (or machine) separates the processed material from the scrap. Although laser cutting is very efficient, it still produces some material waste.

Another coiler at the end of the roller conveyor rolls up the sheet metal scraps for recycling. This component is mostly required for large-scale productions.

Conclusion

Coil-fed laser cutting is a popular metal processing technique due to its high accuracy, fast cutting speed, and cost efficiency. Nearly every modern sheet metal industry uses laser cutting. Metal has always been a popular material due to its decent cost-to-strength ratio. Despite its popularity, metal processing is still very difficult, requiring expensive equipment and years of training. Coil-fed laser blanking shatters this high barrier to entry and makes sheet metal processing more accessible for small businesses and more profitable for larger ones.

Get the Ultimate Coil Fed Laser Cutter at Baison!

Baison is a leader and innovator in the field of fiber lasers. Our decades of experience and dedication have led to developing durable, efficient, incredibly reliable Coil-fed Laser Cutting Machines.

Businesses investing in a new fiber laser system should consider our value-added services, such as FREE Application Evaluation and FREE Customer Training.

Get a leg up on the competition with Baison. Contact us Now!

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Sam Chen

Hey there, I’m Sam!

I’m the founder of Baison. We have been helping manufacturing industries increase their productivity and capacity with our advanced fiber laser systems for over 20 years.

Have questions? Reach out to us, and we will provide you with a perfect solution.

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