Todays laser industry has made the processing of thick section plate a reality. The increase of CO2 laser power to the multi-kilowatt range and the interfacing of these lasers to production based equipment has made the ability to cut steel in the one inch realm quite viable when looking at this from the job shop perspective. There is a degree of realism, however, that must be considered before adventuring into this area of laser processing. This paper is intended to open the eyes of the people considering heavy plate steel cutting by addressing the problems that occur in an environment that is a proving ground for most equipment and processes.

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