Boosting productivity on mild steel
- February 21, 2013
Imagine a technology that could eliminate—automatically and in real time—the common issues associated with cutting mild steel on a CO2 laser machine: uncontrolled kerf width, dross formation, burning defects and striation drags.
Such a technology would eliminate the time and cost of correcting these common problems and increase productivity. In short, it could create a competitive edge for fabricators cutting mild steel.
LVD Strippit says it has found a way to do just that with its new patented technology, Adaptive Laser Cutting (ALC). The new technology made its North American debut at FABTECH 2012 in Las Vegas, NV.
“We have adaptive bending and we thought back in 2005, if we could do this while cutting mild steel on a laser machine and correct cutting issues on the fly, then we would have something unique that everyone is looking for,” says Stefan Colle, laser product sales manager with LVD Strippit.
The new technology uses a near-infrared camera installed near the cutting head to monitor and regulate laser power, speed and assist gas pressure in real time during the cutting process. With the aid of a folding mirror, the technology continuously monitors the meltpool through the images acquired from the NIR camera, which takes 120 images per second. If it detects a problem, it automatically adjusts and optimizes cutting parameters within seconds, turning a bad cut into a perfect cut “without knowing anything about the chemistry of the material. Once the technology finds a good cutting speed, it continues to go faster and faster until it reaches its maximum speed,” explains Colle.
And since it’s able to control the cutting process, it can increase speeds without any fear of overheating the material.
“In three quarter of an inch mild steel we were able to increase speeds 11.5 per cent and in five eights it was slightly less at 9 per cent, but in 1 inch steel we were able to increase speeds to almost 15 per cent faster.”
At the heart of the technology is patented software that uses a unique algorithm developed by LVD Strippit that makes the automatic adjustments to the cutting process in real time, in seconds, when it detects a problem.
Colle says the technology is especially useful for cutting thicker mild steels in lights out environments since it’s able to adjust to changing conditions automatically while processing at maximum speeds. Indeed, LVD Strippit says the technology provides up to a 10 per cent increase in productivity.
ALC is being incorporated into all of LVD Strippit’s Inpuls series laser cutting machines, which also feature a new user-friendly controller. SMT