Laser Assisted Oxygen Cutting (2001-359)
- Bender Shipbuilding & Repair
- BOC Gasses
- Alabama Laser Systems
- General Dynamics Electric Boat
June 2001 - March 2005
NSRP ASE Investment: $672K
Industry Investment: $737K
Develop and exploit an experimental technology for laser-assisted oxygen cutting of thick-section steel plates.
The Laser Assisted Oxygen Cutting (LASOX) process was developed to enable the cutting of thick steel, (50mm min, possibly up to 100mm) using a relatively low laser power (less than 2kW). The LASOX process is an exothermic burning reaction in which the heat of the laser beam is used to bring the steel to ignition temperature, and a specially designed nozzle is used to deliver a supersonic stream of oxygen to the heated spot, resulting in ignition and then sustained burning. The result is clean and accurate cut edges in both a square and bevel configuration, with minimal secondary part processing after removal from the laser-burning table. The LASOX process reduces the time to clean, fit, and weld thick-steel sections by at least 30%. This process also increases the speed in cutting material ¾ inch or greater. The project team also applied the new LASOX nozzle design to improve efficiency of conventional laser cutting of aluminum and stainless steel. At of the end of 2002, Bender was the only company in the world with a production LASOX cutting system. Soon after the first installation, the team refined the system to limit excessive vibration and nozzle damage due to spatter and better control height sensing. Another challenge was to redesign the burning table to withstand the cutting power of the LASOX system. Bender, having successfully introduced laser cutting into its shipyard, leveraged this success by implementing LASOX technology.
Final Report – Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited