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Protective Films: A Powerful Technology Supporting Laser Cutting

Protective Films: A Powerful Technology Supporting Laser Cutting

Adapted protective films are essential for the productivity of laser cutting machines. In this article, Abdelrazak Kerbal of Novacel explains why.

Since the beginning of laser cutting technology, the metal sheets preserved by a protective film faced difficulties while being cut. With the latest generation of machines with fiber laser technology, the cutting process was even more complicated. Indeed, because of their wavelength, fiber laser machines could not safely cut the sheets laminated with a standard protective film. 

To overcome this difficulty, manufacturers had to burn or to remove  the protective films covering the sheets before proceeding with cutting. This practice tends to increase both the production time due to this double cutting pass and the wastage of material due to the sparkles or tools marks.

In addition, the thermal effects of cutting with the flow of assist gas could hinder the smooth running of the process. Indeed, during laser cutting, the film undergoes the heating on the affected zone and tends to soften. This phenomenon, coupled with the diffusion of the high-pressurized cutting gas, can generate bubbles. These bubbles represent areas where the film is no longer sticking to the sheet and are therefore points of weakness in the protection.

Sometimes, dark marks may appear around the cut edges because of the carbon black from the black/white films burnt. In some cases, users must remove non-performing protective films in order to be able to work properly with their machine. 

To overcome all these problems and to guarantee a surface protection without interfering with the smooth running of the process, Novacel has been offering protective films specifically designed for laser cutting for over 20 years now. 

In fact, Novacel’s range of protective films for laser cutting are developed in partnership with the leading laser cutting machines manufacturers and compatible with all the laser technologies currently used for cutting metals. As the main customers of the company are large metallurgy groups, Novacel products are also widely used by the big names in household appliances, construction and decoration materials, and furniture, which have to present surfaces to the final consumer free from any imperfections, scratches or soiling.  

Appropriate Protective Film to Enhance Efficiency and Quality in Laser Cutting

Adapted protective films are essential for the productivity of laser cutting machines. The choice of a protective film depends upon the laser cutting technology used, the protected materials, the sub processes and the industrial segments of application. Thickness of the film, adhesive material used and adhesion level are key parameters for successfully selecting an adapted protective film. 

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