In laser ablation cutting, irradiation of high-intense laser beams causes ejection of molten and evaporated material out of the cutting zone as a result of high pressure gradients, induced by expanding plasma plumes. This paper investigates highspeed laser ablation cutting of industrial grade metal sheets using high-brilliant continuous wave fiber lasers with output powers up to 5 kW. The laser beam was deflected with scan speeds up to 2700 m/min utilizing both a fast galvanometer scan system and a polygon scan system. By sharp laser beam focusing using different objectives with focal lengths ranging between 160 mm and 500 mm, small laser spot diameters between 16.5 μm and 60 μm were obtained, respectively. As a result high peak intensities between 3*108 W/cm² and 2.5*109 W/cm² were irradiated on the sample surface, and cutting kerfs with a maximum depth of 1.4 mm have been produced.
In this study the impact of the processing parameters laser power, laser spot diameter, cutting speed, and number of scans on both the achievable cutting depth and the cutting edge quality was investigated. The ablation depths, the heights of the cutting burr, as well as the removed material volumes were evaluated by means of optical microscope images and cross section photographs. Finally highspeed laser ablation cutting was studied using an intensified ultra highspeed camera in order to get useful insights into the cutting process.