Laser cutting

For many businesses, outsourcing profile cutting work makes sense. It’s a specialised process using specialised machinery. No point investing time and money in it when you can contract the service as needed (especially to pros like FIK Laser!).

But it pays not to rush out and chose the first supplier you come across or the one offering the cheapest deals. You need to do your homework to ensure you select the best option for your business’s needs.

And it doesn’t stop there. 

If you want to get the best results from outsourced profile cutting you need to do your bit too. Here are 7 common mistakes engineers make when contracting profile cutting.

 

#1. Don’t provide dimensions on supplied drawings

If you provide scale drawings but don’t include key dimensions you can run into trouble. When the cutting machine software converts, scale errors can occur. It is always best to include dimensions to avoid any errors creeping in.

 

#2. Cut costs with materials

The quality of the material you cut will reflect in the finished product. Make sure you specify or agree on the material to be used for your job. Don’t go for the cheapest, always think fit for purpose.

 

#3. Think providing own material will be cheaper

Profile cutting businesses will often have better buying power over certain materials than what you do. Don’t assume providing your own material will be cheaper. Get a quote.

 

#4. Don’t use the right tool for the job

When it comes to profile cutting there are several tools for the job. The right choice depends on your finished product and what is important. Here are the main differences between Laser, Plasma, and Water Jet cutting.

 

Laser cutting: Uses laser beams to cut materials.

Pros:

  • Fast speed
  • Clean cutting - allows for cutting of complex shapes
  • Accurate
  • Reliable
  • Cuts many materials of varying thicknesses
  • Can cut very narrow widths
  • Cuts both metals and nonmetals

Cons:

  • Can be expensive compared to other processes
  • High power consumption
  • Hard to use on reflective metals

 

Plasma cutting: Utilizes an electrically-conductive gas to transfer energy from an electrical power source through a plasma cutting torch and into the material that is being cut.

Pros:

  • Cuts a wide variety of metals
  • Economical
  • Rapid cutting speeds

Cons:

  • Less accurate than water and laser
  • Dealing with different materials requires that you change cutting edge
  • Produces fumes in the cutting process
  • Poor edge quality on some materials

 

Waterjet cutting: Uses a high-pressure jet of water to cut a wide variety of materials.

Pros:

  • Can cut into virtually any kind of material
  • Does not overheat the material adjacent to the cut thus maintaining its form.
  • Can cut thick materials

Cons:

  • Slow cutting speeds for most metals
  • Noisy, unless when cutting is done underwater

 

#5. Skip the test cut

It’s tempting to jump right in and start cutting to save time and money. But as a precaution, it’s always a good idea to start with a test cut to ensure you get the results you want.

 

#6. Think short term

We often see people making a decision based on their current volumes and product mix. That’s fine if things are likely to stay the same, but if you have growth plans, make sure you pick a profile cutter that can adjust to your changing volumes. Talk to them about lead times, capacity, volume pricing, troubleshooting, service etc.

 

#7. Switch suppliers all the time

Shopping around for the best deal does not always get the best results. Instead look to form a long-term working relationship with your profile cutter. That way you’ll get better service and advice.

 

As a family run business, here at FIK Laser, we pride ourselves on our service and the excellent working relationships we develop with our customers. We are dedicated to delivering quality precision laser cut profiles and parts and can cut almost any material, from one-offs to mass production.

Talk to us today about how we can help you.