Which is Best?
There are many factors that go into deciding which coil fed technology, laser or punching, will work best for your company. An analysis must be done regarding the type of parts, material, volume and the next process in order to determine the most efficient method. Both systems offer continuous production with reduced scrap and material costs, and both offer significant savings over their sheet fed counterparts.
Laser cutting is ideal for parts that will be nested and do not have features that require a forming operation like louvers or extrusions. Large irregular cut outs also run much faster on a laser. Laser cutting is faster than punching, and often more flexible as you are not limited to the tooling you have in stock. Laser cutting is also much better suited for high strength steels, as punching tonnage is not a factor with a laser. Due to its high speed and cutting efficiency, the laser is also ideally suited for parts that will be cut and stacked for processing later. The laser system can be mated with automation such as a bending cell, but often the speed of the automation will reduce the efficiency of the laser.
Punching, on the other hand, uses standard turret tooling to make parts, and is best if parts have a forming operation. The wide array of standard tools available produces louvers, extrusions, tabs and many other shapes in addition to punched holes. Parts can be nested, or run one at a time to allow feeding into an automatic bending cell. Since punching runs slower than laser cutting, this makes it ideal for mating with bending or automation cells to reduce work in process.
Chicago Slitter will be glad to help you analyze your needs, and offer the most efficient solution for your application. Please contact us to discuss if coil fed laser or punching could increase your productivity and/or lower your cost per part.