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.
February 13, 2007
An expanding metal fabrication shop invests in lasers to help it produce precision parts and manage tight lead times.
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.
January 9, 2007 | By Frank J. Arteaga
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.
December 12, 2006 | By Jason Hillenbrand
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.
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.
September 12, 2006 | By Dan Davis
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.
Two standard laser assist gases are oxygen and nitrogen. However, a third gas — shop air — has become a viable alternative.
March 7, 2006 | By David Bell
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.
February 7, 2006 | By Eric Lundin
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.
January 10, 2006 | By David Bell
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. Part II discusses beam delivery to the workpiece and the gases used to process the material.
December 13, 2005 | By Thorsten Frauenpreiss
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.
November 8, 2005 | By Stephanie Vaughan
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.
October 11, 2005 | By Dirk Petring, Ph.D.
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.
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.