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NUM Flexium+ CNC Enables Sheet Metal Laser Cutting System To Achieve Exceptional Accuracy

NUM Flexium+ CNC Enables Sheet Metal Laser Cutting System To Achieve Exceptional Accuracy

In collaboration with NUM Taiwan, the Taiwanese laser machine manufacturer Legend Laser, Inc., has developed a unique multi-axis system for the precision cutting of thin sheet metal parts. Based on NUM’s latest-generation Flexium+ CNC platform, the system combines high dynamic performance linear motors with a pulsed fibre laser, and is expressly designed for 24/7 operation in a standard production environment.

Legend Laser’s new SRC-610 precision sheet metal cutter is a 3-axis system with a working area of 1000 x 600 mm and an above-worktable clearance height of 150 mm. It is mounted on a high inertia platform, comprising a large mass solid granite base with a rigid metal frame. To ensure smooth, burr-free cutting and to prevent any heat-induced deformation of thin metal workpieces, the power output of the pulsed fibre laser is fully synchronised to the cutting operation. The laser has a peak output power of 1.5 kW and can cut sheet metal with a thickness of between 20 µm (0.02 mm) and 1000 µm (1 mm), at speeds ranging from a few millimetres per second to a hundred millimetres per second.

In addition to sheet metal, the SRC-610 is also suitable for cutting and drilling ceramic and sapphire plate. Thanks to the system’s high dynamic performance and continuously variable laser power level, it is capable of exceptional cutting precision – to within just plus/minus 10 microns (10 µm or 0.01 mm).

The X and Y axes of the system – which control the lateral movement of the sheet metal workpiece and the laser cutting head respectively – are capable of very fast acceleration/deceleration and ultra-precise positioning. Both axes employ linear induction motors, driven by NUM’s NUMDrive X servo amplifiers.

The Z axis, which controls the vertical height of the laser cutting head and thus the gap between it and the workpiece, uses a NUM BHX series AC brushless servomotor and a third NUMDrive X servo amplifier. The gap is controlled very accurately during the entire cutting process, through use of a unique ‘Dynamic Operator’ (DO) function in NUM’s Flexium software. This employs special fast calculation and communication facilities which enable event-driven machine cycles to be integrated into the real-time CNC kernel.

According to Sherman Kuo, President of Legend Laser, “NUM is now our CNC provider of choice. Its open architecture CNC platforms simplify system integration, while its willingness to actively collaborate in joint machine development projects such as this helps to shorten our time to market significantly”.

Locally placed technical support is also an important factor, as Adrian Kiener, CSO Asia and Managing Director of NUM Taiwan, points out: “Legend Laser’s HQ is only about 150 km from NUM’s offices in Taichung City. By offering direct access to the CNC experts and development facilities we have here, as well as in Switzerland and other strategic locations around the world, we can provide a very fast and supportive service to companies in Taiwan and other countries in Asia”.

NUM is supplying Legend Laser with a complete CNC solution for its SRC-610 precision sheet metal laser cutting system. In addition to the Flexium+ 8 CNC system and NUMDrive X servo amplifiers, this includes a custom HMI (human-machine interface) that is dedicated to laser cutting, a PLC, a fully developed part program and system commissioning.

 

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Laser Cutting In Manufacturing Process

Laser Cutting In Manufacturing Process

Laser cutting is a fabrication process which employs a focused, high-powered laser beam to cut material into custom shapes and designs. This process is suitable for a wide range of materials, including metal, plastic, wood and glass. Article by Ahmad Alshidiq.

Manufacturers have sought to make the manufacturing process easier and more efficient. By verifying that a design can actually be manufactured early on in the development process, manufacturers can save time and money, and speed up time to market for new products while also ensure optimum productivity.

The development of technologies such as laser cutting have made manufacturing complex products easier. Laser cutters have simplified the process of manufacturing products simpler, rather than simplifying the products themselves, thus allowing for greater complexity in less time — and increased innovation.

L.A.S.E.R

Laser is the acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, which is the main participant in this process, is a beam of heavily intensified light. This beam of light is formed by a single wavelength or single colour.

The laser machines use amplification and stimulation technique to transform electric energy into high density beam of light. The stimulation process happens as the electrons are excited via an external source, mostly an electric arc or a flash lamp.

Focusing the light beam is not so easy. The laser has to go through a specialised lens or any type of curved surface. This focusing part of the laser happens inside the laser-cutting tip. The focusing is crucial to this cutting process because if the beam is not focused concisely, the shape will turn out different.

Laser cutters can be customised to cut nearly any material of any thickness to exact specifications accurately and fast. It is a cleaner process, requires little or no secondary cleanup, can be easily adjusted to meet the changing needs of the product.

The process works by having a focused and precise laser beam run through the material that users are looking to cut, delivering an accurate and smooth finish. Initially, the beam pierces the material with a hole at the edge, and then the beam is continued along from there. The laser melts the material away that it is run over. This means that it can easily cut light materials up to tougher metals and gemstones.

Either a pulsed beam or a continuous wave beam can be used, with the former being delivered in short bursts while the latter works continuously. Users can control the beam intensity, length and heat output depending on the material you are working with, and can also user a mirror or special lens to further focus the laser beam. Laser cutting is a highly accurate process, thanks to high level of control offered; slits with a width as small as 0.1mm can be achieved.

There are three main types of laser cutting: C02, crystal and, more common, fibre laser cutting.

Fibre laser cutting machines have emerged as the technology of choice for sheet metal cutting in the metal fabricating industry. They are able to deliver unrivalled productivity, precision, and cost-effective operation when compared with the cutting technologies that came before them.

Techniques In Cutting Process

There are also several techniques involved with the laser cutting process, according to SPI Laser:

Laser cutting – This is the process of cutting a shape to create smaller sizes, pieces, or more complex shapes.

Laser engraving – The process of removing a layer of a material to leave an engraving below. This is often used for etching barcodes onto items.

Laser marking – Similar to engraving in that a mark is made but the difference being that the mark is only surface level, while an engraving from laser engraving has much more depth.

Laser drilling – Drilling is creating dents or thru-holes on or in the surface of a material.

Laser cutting allows more flexibility in the manufacturing process. A laser operates with a heat intensity, making it possible to cleanly and accurately cut virtually any material, from the strongest alloy all the way down to the thinnest polymers.

Lasers aren’t bound by geometry, so parts do not have to conform to the capabilities of the laser cutter. Because the laser itself never actually touches the part being cut, materials can be oriented in any fashion, which allows them to be cut in any shape or form. In many cases, the precision cuts made by the lasers require little to no post-cut processing, which also speeds up the manufacturing process.

There are, however, some drawbacks, as laser cutting uses more power than other types of cutters and does require more training to do properly, as poorly adjusted lasers can burn materials or fail to cut them cleanly. And while laser cutting does typically cost more than other types of processes, such as wet cutting, the benefits often far outweigh those costs.

Laser Leads the Way

The laser continues to solve more and more manufacturing problems, and process variables such as beam diameter and manipulation continue to have a meaningful impact. It’s no mystery why manufacturers constantly choose laser cutting for their prototype and their final production over any other traditional metal engraving process. With its precise cutting, smooth edge, cost and energy efficiency as well as many other profitable advantages, it seems like the use of laser cutting in different sectors and industries is not likely to decrease in next decade or so. And it is indeed a wise decision to shift from traditional expensive metal cutting technologies to this efficient process of shaping ideas. Advancements in laser technology are sure to be a key component of success in the era of Industrie 4.0.

 

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Global Fibre Laser Market Forecast

Global Fibre Laser Market Forecast

According to Allied Market Research, the global fibre laser market amounted to USD 1,782 million in 2017, and is projected to reach USD 4,403 million by 2025, with a CAGR of 11.9 percent from 2018 to 2025. This can be attributed to technological advancements with respect to fibre, beam quality, lower cost of ownership and the rise of eco-friendly technologies. Furthermore, an increase in the number of applications for fibre lasers are also expected to augment the growth of the market during the forecast period. However, reduced cutting speed while processing thicker materials and undesired pulse pedestals as well as non-linear optical effects are some of the factors that have inhibited market growth.

Currently, the global fibre laser market is categorised based on a series of parameters such as type, application and region. Based on fibre laser type, the market is further segregated into infrared fibre laser, ultraviolet fibre laser, ultrafast fibre laser, and visible fibre laser. While from the standpoint of applications, the market is divided into high power, marking, fine processing, and micro processing. Meanwhile, based on region, the market can be segmented across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.

The growth of vendors in emerging markets, such as Asia-Pacific and LAMEA, is projected to boost the market growth and Asia-Pacific in particular is expected to witness significant growth in future. This is due to increased demands for fibre lasers in the electronics and automotive industry. Furthermore, the region possesses significant opportunities for venture capitalists and investors, due to the lack of market saturation that is observed in developed markets. Thus, emerging markets such as South Korea, India, and Taiwan are expected to provide major contributions to the development of the fibre laser market in the future, largely due to the mining and automotive sectors.

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LVD: Electra FL 3015 Fibre Laser Cutting Machine

LVD: Electra FL 3015 Fibre Laser Cutting Machine

LVD’s Electra FL 3015 eight kW fibre laser cutting machine can maintain two G acceleration speed while cutting. The machine is equipped with a cutting head featuring automated adjustment of focus position and focus diameter (zoom focus). Zoom focus control can affect piercing times, cutting speeds and cut performance in all material types and thicknesses.

The machine also offers two levels of automation. The FA-L is an automated load/unload system designed to keep pace with the machine’s cutting speed. The CT-L has capabilities for loading, unloading and storage of raw materials and finished parts.

Marked By Laser

Marked By Laser

Laser marking has significant advantages in terms of productivity and costs. It does not hurt when it produces good quality as well. Contributed by Petrina Heng, sales manager, Laser Division of Trumpf Asia Pacific.

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