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Cutting fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) with the laser | TRUMPF
Laser cutting for CFRP components

Cutting fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) with the laser

High strength with a simultaneously low weight – this is what makes fiber-reinforced plastics unique, especially compared to high-tensile steels or aluminum. Whether with carbon, glass or aramid fibers – fiber-reinforced plastics are the ideal raw material for industries where a great deal of lightweight design is implemented (e.g. aviation and aerospace or the automotive and wind power industries). However processing fiber-reinforced materials is often challenging, as they are above all unruly and delicate. This means they pose many challenges for all mechanical cutting processes. The laser, on the other hand, offers great potential for efficient processing, as it works without making contact, and is entirely wear-free. This means it cuts even thin FRP parts precisely – without putting strain on the material mechanically or through auxiliary agents.

Fast and affordable

Compared to alternative processes, the non-contact laser is entirely wear-free. A tool change is no longer required when changing the material.

Precisely adjustable

The laser allows for the resin layer to be ablated selectively. The exact energy dosage allows for even the most intricate FPR parts to be processed.

High cut quality

When cutting FPR parts, manufacturers achieve a consistently high level of quality and reproducible results.

Various potential uses

Not only can lasers easily cut fiber-reinforced plastics, they can also mark and perforate them.

What advantages does cutting fiber-reinforced plastics with a laser have, compared to alternative methods?

Water jet cutting vs. laser cutting

Cutting fiber-reinforced plastics with a water jet often results in the coating coming off, meaning that fibers and synthetic resin separate. Additionally, the strong forces which are exerted on the workpiece impair the cut quality. The result: fibers stand out. The laser, on the other hand, cuts cleanly and precisely, in a non-contact manner. The coating is not damaged in the process, meaning the fibers and synthetic resin do not separate. 

Milling vs. laser cutting

Even with milling, the transfer of force causes negative consequences such as breakage and distortion. Additionally, this process often results in fiber pull-out (fraying). Machining operations are also connected with higher costs. This is because milling tools wear very quickly as a result of the hard fibers, which means they need to be replaced multiple times per shift. Likewise when material thickness and quality change, a tool change is often required, unlike with a laser. The laser also impresses with noticeably lower process times.

Cutting fiber-reinforced plastics

Watch the video to see how the TruLaser Cell 7040 cuts even the largest carbon fiber reinforced plastic parts reliably.

Manufacturing complex, three-dimensional carbon fiber reinforced plastic components

In this video you will see how the laser's precision has a positive effect when cutting preformed materials.

The versatile applications of laser cutting fiber-reinforced plastics

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