Nozzles boost laser cutting speed up to 100%
- Published: June 27, 2017
TRUMPF has introduced the Highspeed and Highspeed Eco, newly designed nozzles that boost the feed rate by up to 100 per cent for solid state laser machines that employ fusion cutting with nitrogen.
With this new technology, the piercing process is faster, and laser power does not need to be increased. These new cutting processes allow for a nearly twofold increase in sheet throughput compared to standard cutting. Less cutting gas is used due to the nozzle’s innovative design. The Highspeed process requires 40 per cent less nitrogen on average; Highspeed Eco 70 per cent less.
In fusion cutting, gas, under relatively high pressure, blows molten material out of the kerf, incurring high operating costs. Flame cutting utilizing oxygen is commonly used for mild steel, especially for relatively thick sheets. The advantage of low gas costs is offset by oxidized cut edges which often need to be reworked. The new Highspeed and Highspeed Eco processes, by contrast, are faster and use less gas, which greatly increases the cost-efficiency of fusion cutting mild steel with nitrogen. In addition, the scope of applications is now broader for eight-kilowatt lasers used in fusion cutting. The laser can now fusion cut sheets as thick as 0.5 inches instead of 0.4 inches as in the past.
The Highspeed process makes use of a bi-flow nozzle. Some of the cutting gas passes through the center of this nozzle, as does the laser beam. The rest forms a secondary flow around the principal flow to concentrate it onto the kerf, expelling molten material more efficiently.
The Highspeed Eco process relies on a patented nozzle fitted with a sleeve that forces the gas directly into the kerf, ensuring that little or no gas flows off to the side. While this moving sleeve glides across the material during fusion cutting, the nozzle remains 0.06 inches from the sheet surface. This ensures the nozzle can effortlessly withstand any spatter generated during piercing which accelerates piercing and minimizes the risk of damage.
Highspeed and Highspeed Eco can be used for fusion cutting of mild-steel and stainless-steel sheets at least 0.16 inches thick. Additionally, just one nozzle is needed for the entire material thickness range in these cases which makes mix-ups less likely and shortens setup times. Cut edges exhibit low surface roughness and a high-quality, consistent look.
Highspeed Eco and Highspeed can now be used on machines in the TruLaser Series 5000 equipped with an 8 kW solid state laser. Soon it will be available for use with 6 kW solid state lasers. The Highspeed process is featured on machines in the TruLaser Series 3000 fitted with a six-kilowatt solid-state laser. Many relatively new machines can be retrofitted with these processes.