Going modular with lasers
- November 16, 2011
Mazak Optonics’ patented flexible laser manufacturing system has gone modular.
"Automation is more important than fiber technology today, says Bill Citron, president, who spoke at the recent FABTECH 2011 show in Chicago, IL, where the new system made its debut. "As capacity increases, manufacturers need to also increase productivity and to do that automation is where people are going. Today, we have 675 machines installed in automation systems in North America.”
And contrary to popular conceptions, this flexible and modular manufacturing system isn’t just for large manufacturers, but tailored for manufacturers large and small with high production demands. "Job shops are using this technology because it’s so flexible. You can add up to four machines in one cell,” explains Citron.
All of the company’s models in the 1.5 m x 3 m (5 ft x 10 ft) and 1.8 m x 3 m (6 ft x 10 ft) range can fit in the cell and more importantly, the cell, associated software and line controller can accommodate standard CO2, flying optics and fiber laser machines. Standard sheet metal thickness for these systems is 25 mm (1 in.). The parts stocking system is available in 10 and 20-shelf configurations, although it can accommodate up to 40 shelves for sheets and plates. Part stocking and unload tables can be added for handling of cut parts.
The line controller is an important part of the system because it allows manufacturers to access production data. It handles cutting schedule implementation, raw material inventory management and material transfer, and cutting program transfer from anywhere on the system’s network. The controller coordinates delivery of materials and programs and facilitates loading and unloading of individual machines.