Laser Cutting Articles

The laser cutting technology area has information on 2-D and 3-D cutting machines, optics, resonators, cutting gases, and automated material handling systems. In addition to conventional CO2 systems, it has information on solid-state fiber and disk lasers.

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Laser cutting cell

Successful automation isn't automatic

October 9, 2007

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As with so many other ventures in life, successfully implementing a laser automation system rests on one key practice: communication.

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The evolution of scanners for remote welding applications

October 9, 2007

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Remote laser welding operations, many of which rely on a laser scanner to deflect the beam to the weld area, require high-beam-quality lasers. Years ago this meant that they were used only with high-power CO2 lasers. As the beam quality of Nd:YAG, disk, and fiber-optic lasers have improved, these lasers also have become suitable for remote welding, allowing the scanners to be smaller and faster.

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3 ways to get the most from your laser operation

August 8, 2007

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The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.—Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp.To say Mr. Gates lived his conviction successfully would be a vast understatement. To say following his path would be...

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Laser cutting

Air cutting revisited

March 13, 2007

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Fabricators are increasingly using compressed air in laser cutting, instead of relying on laser assist gases such as oxygen and nitrogen. Recent findings reveal that shop air can be used on more material types and thicknesses, including parts on which the edge quality is visible.

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Automated parts removal

Flexible automation of laser cutting, material handling

March 13, 2007

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What's the point in purchasing an expensive laser cutting machine if you are going to waste money-making opportunities by unloading parts manually? Good nesting software, proper maintenance, and the latest unloading technology can help to make automated laser cutting and unloading a reality.

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Laser cutting device

Breaking speed barriers in laser cutting

February 14, 2007

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A real breakthrough in high-speed laser cutting occurred in 2005. Two additional parallel kinematic drive axes were placed near the point where the laser exits the head, creating a laser cutting machine with one dynamic and light cutting torch capable of independent movement along two axes but working in precise synchronicity with the machine's more sweeping movement of the laser head. This new approach opened up new frontiers and much higher limits in processing speed.

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MPI laser cutting

Cutting lead-times with lasers

February 13, 2007

An expanding metal fabrication shop invests in lasers to help it produce precision parts and manage tight lead times.

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High speed laser cutting

A new dimension in lasers

January 17, 2007

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High-speed laser cutting is a recent result of increased laser power and high acceleration motion technology, which have improved cutting speeds. Tilt beam 2D-3D systems allow laser cutting of small 3D parts, bevel cutting on 2D sheet metal and 3D parts, 3D trimming of small deep drawn parts, and processing of holes and cut-outs in hydroformed parts.

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Waterjet laser cutting

Achieving precision and diversification with laser and waterjet technologies

January 9, 2007

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Both laser and waterjet cutting systems produce precision parts, and in many applications, either is appropriate. This article, which discusses the benefits and limitations of both technologies, can help you decide which is best-suited for your operation. In some cases, utilizing both can increase manufacturing flexibility and your business capabilities.

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CO2 lasers

High-powered lasers take a bite out of plate

December 12, 2006

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CO2 lasers are available in wattages that can cut plate more than 1 in. thick. The wattage, however, isn't the only factor that affects total speed and power. The assist gas chosen and the mode of the laser also influence final results.

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3 steps to better laser maintenance

October 10, 2006

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Laser machine users know it, but often ignore it. Laser manufacturers swear by it, but often don't push it. It's maintenance, and it should be the watchword of anyone who owns and operates a laser.

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Expanding upward and outward

September 12, 2006

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Watson Engineering didn't have to add any laser operators during its most recent expansion effort. The reason was technology advancements associated with material handling and modern laser cutting devices.

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A breath of fresh air

August 8, 2006

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Two standard laser assist gases are oxygen and nitrogen. However, a third gas — shop air — has become a viable alternative.

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Optimizing CO2 laser use: Part II

March 7, 2006

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As explained in Part I of this two-part series, many factors can affect laser processing efficiency. This article explains basic laser beam delivery requirements; discusses laser gases and supply methods; and lists common problems caused by using incorrect pressure, flow, and laser speed.

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Selecting equipment for maximum productivity

February 7, 2006

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H. Meeuwsen B.V., a fabricator in Yerseke, Netherlands, found that purchasing a laser that could handle parts up to 12 m long greatly enhanced its capabilities. It augmented this purchase with a tandem press brake. One side of the brake has an 8-m capacity; the other has a 4-m capacity. This gives the company the ability to bend 12-m parts, if necessary, or to run the two brakes simultaneously for smaller items. Subsequent growth in customer demand led the company to consider purchasing a second laser. A careful analysis revealed that the company could do just fine with a smaller laser, so it purchased a laser with a 3-m capacity.

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