Laser Cutting with NitrogenDelivering nitrogen in the purities required for optimum laser cutting results

Many laser cutting applications rely on non-reactive (inert) gases as the assist gas. Nitrogen would be the typical choice for cutting stainless steels, aluminium and its alloys.

Cutting with non-reactive gases is often referred to as clean cutting or high-pressure cutting. Here, the material is melted solely by the laser power and blown out of the cut kerf by the kinetic energy of the gas jet. Unlike cutting with oxygen, the melt-shear removal process is the only active process as inert gases do not react with the molten metal and no additional heat is generated. Therefore much higher laser power and gas pressures are required – also because the molten steel has quite a high viscosity compared with liquid iron oxide.

With nitrogen cutting, increasing the nitrogen pressure will result in faster cutting speeds. This speed gain is limited by the cooling effect of high-pressure gas flows. For mild steel and stainless steel thick sheets, the ideal pressure lies in the region between 10 and 15 bar. Higher figures are possible with the most powerful lasers available.

Meeting your Nitrogen Purity Challenges
The nitrogen purity is important if a clean cut edge is required, for example when cutting stainless steel or aluminium metals. Even small percentages of oxygen contamination will result in yellowing of the cut edge in stainless steel as a result of oxidation. Also, more dross may be formed and this is difficult to remove.

The oxygen content in nitrogen becomes even more critical when very thick sections of stainless steel are being cut. Due to the lower cutting speeds, the material is able to react with the oxygen for longer. Hence a minimum nitrogen purity of 99.995% is often required.

We deliver an onsite process gases to meet your specific nitrogen purity needs, thus helping to maximise your productivity and return on investment. We also work closely with laser manufacturers to ensure that our  gases meet OEM purity requirements. Our minimum specification for nitrogen purity for laser cutting is 99.99%.

Our programme extends far beyond purity specifications, however. We offer a complete range of products and services, uniting our in-depth laser cutting know-how with our long-standing experience in the delivery of fully integrated laser solutions.

Our spectrum of services extends from process consulting through gas storage and supply technologies to all-round technical support. The result is a state-of-the-art, all-inclusive supply and service package tailored to your specific needs, including specialised gas delivery systems to support the high volume and pressure requirements of laser cutting with nitrogen.

LASER CUTTING - Nitrogen, On Site Generation

Do you use Nitrogen for Laser cutting? You probably use bulk N2, which means you may be paying too much! 

What can you do? On Site N2 generation is the smart choice. Take the cost of what you pay now for bulk N2 in a year, tell us what this is and how much you use. We can install a full on site generation system and you pay us a monthly fee. In some cases the savings are more than 50%. For that kind of money its worth contacting us? We can do a survey and put a proposal to you for no charge. You have nothing to lose and plenty to gain.

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If you want to increase your productivity, reduce taper and optimise your process, then nitrogen is your answer.

By using nitrogen as your cutting gas, the laser beam melts the material, and the nitrogen blows away the molten material from the cutting groove.

The part cut using high-pressure nitrogen gas can move directly from the laser system to welding operations without additional processing. Furthermore, nitrogen-cut parts have considerably less taper, welding operations are minimized, less fixturing is required, and parts generally have better a fit. Improved welds also translate to less time spent polishing parts.