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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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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Optimizing CO2 laser use: Part I

January 10, 2006

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Many factors can affect laser processing efficiency. This article, Part I of a two-part series, stresses laser system maintenance and discusses factors that can affect beam quality and efficiency—namely, impurities introduced by laser gases and gas supply systems and how to prevent them. It also has a supply system requirements list.

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Looking to higher power for laser speed?

December 13, 2005

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Laser beam sources with higher output powers and improved beam qualities have expanded the range of laser applications. Most system's lasers have power higher than 2 kW. Higher power does not always increase the speed, however. Increasing the power during thermal cutting value may cause increased heat-affected zones on the material and place higher demands on the motion system, thus limiting the cutting speed. A new patented cutting machine, the diffusion-cooled CO2 slab laser, may offer improved beam quality and smaller focus diameters under conditions comparable to conventional fast-axial-flow CO2 laser with 4-kW output power.

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Growing gains with lasers

November 8, 2005

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Jeff Adams may have taken the nontraditional route in manufacturing by starting out in the laser equipment vendor community, but he has since moved to the job shop side of the industry, using his laser knowledge and expertise to help grow his 12-year-old laser job shop in Libertyville, Ill.

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Tube, profile cutting with lightning speed

October 11, 2005

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For more than 30 years, lasers have been used successfully for flat sheet cutting. Complex 3-D laser cutting is well-established in the automotive industry.

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Fitness equipment manufacturer pumps up

October 11, 2005

Paramount Fitness Corp., a manufacturer of strength training equipment, used to purchase small quantities of laser-cut parts from outside vendors. Its desire for a laser could not be justified because the quantities of parts were so low. Engineers at TRUMPF worked with Paramount to create special fixtures so that a TC L 2530 sheet metal laser could handle tubular parts. The company soon found the new laser running 10 hours per day, six days a week. In keeping with the company's strategy to reduce direct labor, it soon justified a TUBEMATIC to handle its tubular parts.

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Laser cutting and welding with one tool

October 11, 2005

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Today's laser sources have the power and beam quality needed to cut and join metal in an expeditious and repetitious manner. The market demands that type of flexible production, so those characteristics are basic requirements in modern laser devices. The market demands also have promoted the idea of multifunctional processing. That has led to the development of a combination head capable of laser cutting and welding 3-D metal work pieces.

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Boiled over by laser's performance

August 9, 2005

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Kvaerner Power Inc.'s Fairmont, W.V., metal fabricating operation needed new market opportunities and someone to take over plasma cutting chores after its business partner went out of business. They found a Pennsylvania job shop to help with metal cutting and eventually learned that a 3-D laser could help them bring their outsourced jobs back in-house and that the laser could lead to new business.

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