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Optiplex laser cutting machine

The laser as a lean manufacturing tool

October 8, 2012 | By Dan Cruz

How many fabricating shops run a less-than-optimized cutting head just to avoid the downtime of switching out the head? S&B Metal Products, Lakeland, Fla., used to do like that until it got a laser cutting machine that was a better fit for its low-volume, high-mix fabricating jobs.

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Is a laser/punch machine right for you? -

Is a laser/punch machine right for you?

July 16, 2012 | By Mike Kroll

The metal fabricator that processes plenty of hole-intensive parts with several contours and forms may want to consider a laser/punch combination machine. The equipment can cut down on excessive material movement and help to boost production efficiencies and quality efforts.

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An overview of laser cutting technologies -

An overview of laser cutting technologies

July 16, 2012 | By Richard Green

Resonators producing a high beam quality and small spot size provide a machine tool with a broader depth of field that enables greater process tolerance to material deviation. This tolerance gives the operator a bigger sweet spot for machine parameters to produce consistent, high-quality parts.

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Balancing the variables for optimal dust collection -

Balancing the variables for optimal dust collection

April 16, 2012 | By Bob Walters , Kirt Boston

Designing and integrating an effective dust collection system for thermal cutting is not a one-size-fits-all exercise. Balancing all the factors will help a shop ensure it gets the most out of it.

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No holes in modern laser cutting story -

No holes in modern laser cutting story

February 1, 2012 | By Dan Davis

Fabricators want to process metal parts with the least amount of handling as possible. As a result, they are always looking to maximize the capabilities of their equipment. One example is the use of laser cutting equipment to produce high-tolerance holes in a speedy manner, instead of taking metal blanks to a secondary station for additional holemaking activities. Advancements in drive system and piercing technology have given fabricators a chance to raise their hole-cutting capabilities while the sheet remains in the laser cutting bed.

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Why beam delivery matters -

Why beam delivery matters

January 6, 2012

The most powerful laser in the world can’t work without an effective, finely tuned beam delivery system. Its design hinges on the application, but a few basic elements lay the groundwork. Together they provide myriad options to find the most effective way to carry and shape the beam on its way from the laser source to the workpiece.

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5 commonly overlooked laser maintenance areas -

5 commonly overlooked laser maintenance areas

December 15, 2011 | By Brian Fredrickson, Jeff Hahn

By keeping tabs on laser optics, gas flow, chiller performance, and machine cleanliness, a metal fabricator can ensure that a laser cutting machine is performing as it should and possibly lengthen the machine's working life as well.

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Engineering firm enters the 3-D world of laser cutting -

Engineering firm enters the 3-D world of laser cutting

October 20, 2011 | By Dan Davis

A defense contract drove Systems Engineering & Manufacturing, Forest, Va., to seek out a flexible fabricating tool that could handle bent tube and structural shapes, and the fabricator found its answer in a laser cutting machine that could accommodate 2-D and 3-D parts.

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Nesting software keeps the “lights-out” on -

Nesting software keeps the “lights-out” on

September 9, 2011 | By Cornel TerreBlanche, John Leuzinger

"Lights-out" laser cutting-defined as a machine laser-cutting parts without the need of operator intervention, typically during an unmanned evening shift-can only occur when the cutting head can move around the sheet unencumbered. Advanced nesting software can ensure that "lights-out" remains on.

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Putting talent to work -

Putting talent to work

August 1, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Arin Inc. has evolved from a steel rule blanking house to a modern metal fabricator capable of producing precision, laser cut blanks. Bu workers can see history every day--a tool room for steel rule die remains, as do the mechanical presses. A tour of Arin's shop is a walk through time, a gallery showing what metal fabrication talent has produced over the decades.

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Seeing the (green) light -

Seeing the (green) light

August 1, 2011 | By David J. Stone

More lasers or punch presses may enable a shop to cut more parts, but those parts still must be loaded, unloaded, and transported to downstream operations. In these cases, automation can help increase green-light-on time and help a shop produce more parts in less time.

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Gas equipment for CO2 laser cutting: A primer -

Gas equipment for CO2 laser cutting: A primer

July 8, 2011 | By John Karpus

Precise assist gas delivery is essential in CO2 laser cutting. The resonator is a key component, especially if gas delivery will be uninterrupted for unattended machine operation. Assist gas volume and pressure also must be appropriate for the application to ensure the best results.

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One laser head, one plasma torch, one cutting table -

One laser head, one plasma torch, one cutting table

July 8, 2011 | By Douglas Shuda

The fiber laser and plasma systems share similar delivery systems. Neither require any kind of optical alignment between the power source and cutting head. The two thermal cutting processes share many similarities, from an integration standpoint, which is why the two now can be integrated onto a single cutting table.

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Laser cutting thick stainless steel--fast -

Laser cutting thick stainless steel—fast

January 17, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Fabricator uses a 7-kW CO2 laser cutting system to cut thousands of thick, stainless steel components for a critical component of nuclear plant safety. Today, the shop hopes to leverage its technology to gain work in other sectors.

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A case of the gas -

A case of the gas

January 10, 2011 | By Dan Davis

If a job shop supplies metal parts that are to be powder coated or welded, the customers likely require that those fabricated parts have no oxidized edges. That requirement forces the job shop to cut with nitrogen, which doesn't leave an oxidized edge like oxygen. Unfortunately, cutting with nitrogen is expensive because much more nitrogen is consumed when compared to oxygen to perform similar cuts. This situation led a metal fabricator to investigate nitrogen generation systems. This is his tale.

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