By: Dr. Nukman bin Yusoff
Laser cutting technology is a non-conventional machining which being used widely in many industries. However, the application of this technology in textile industry is still new and yet to be explored. Indeed, nowadays many textile industries are preferred to cut the textile by using conventional way such as discs, band blade and reciprocating knives. As compared to traditional cutting methods the laser cutting offers several advantages such as fast cutting speed, reduced the time consumption, a non-contact cutting and no tool wear. Thus, using this technology would be more efficient and productive if the right method of laser cutting process is used to replace the conventional cutting methods.
This research conducted, in conjunction to recognize the best machining condition and the effectiveness of CO2 laser interaction with various types of textiles in cutting process. Through this study, two main experiments have been conducted using CO2 laser to perform cutting process on a single and multiple layers of textiles. The textiles used in this study are plain cotton, chiffon, habutae silk, plain jessy and plain dull satin. Two main variable machining parameters have been chosen, the laser power (100W – 500W) and the cutting speed (60 mm/s – 600 mm/s). Variation of laser power and cutting speed in laser cutting process are very important parameters for best quality and efficiency of laser cutting method. The effect of varying the variable parameters have been investigated through the findings of the kerf width, side line length (SLL), circular diameter, percentage of overcut, depth of cut and the material removal rate (MRR).
From the findings it is shown that, the usage of laser power and cutting speed influence the accuracy of the cutting process. For single layer the use of low power (100W) and high cutting speed (600mm/s) is the best choice. Moreover, cutting multiple layers of textile would require higher laser power and moderate cutting speed to avoid non full-through cutting.
As a conclusion, the textile industries may manipulate this new technology in order to improve the productivity and increase quality of their products. Thus this CO2 laser fabric cutting technique can produce high quality of production with a minimum of waste and total ease of use. Subject to a correct parameter selection and suitable intermediate material used in multiple layer of textile cutting process, may increase the productivity. In conclusion in order to achieve the overall improvements, the best machining condition of laser cutting need to be well determined to prevent any burn textile while conducting the cutting process.