Integrated Z-axis boosts laser blanking system speeds
- August 8, 2018
LaserCoil Technologies has increased the cutting speed and power of its laser blanking systems.
The company has introduced 8kW fiber lasers featuring a proprietary Z-axis design integrated directly into the laser blanking system. This feature allows the laser head to more rapidly adjust to height variations in the material, maintaining consistent stand-off. As cutting speeds increase with the higher power laser, it is imperative the performance of the Z-axis increases accordingly to realize the system’s full potential.
In the past when reaching higher cutting speeds, especially in the range of 1000-2200 mm/second, the system’s ability to adjust to variations in material height with less than perfectly flat material lagged behind the laser’s potential cutting speed, essentially keeping the system from reaching its full throughput potential. This was, in part, due to this Z-axis adjustment being tied into a separate controller, functioning through a separate HMI. But the new integrated Z-axis offers the ability to maintain the higher speeds with a wider range of less than perfectly flat material.
The systems can be sold with a single laser 8kW head or with multiple heads, which allow a shared balancing of the cutting workload to decrease processing time and improve productivity. Additionally, the LaserCoil systems offer multi-mode capability where users can choose either Feed Index Mode (stop/start) or Continuous Mode for optimizing cutting parameters for each part configuration, increasing processing rates and enhancing quality.
By laser cutting direct from coil stock, LaserCoil systems provide a fast and flexible approach to blanking that is well suited for production environments running multiple blank profiles and mixed material types. The systems can handle coil stock up to 2.1 m wide in any length, and can process aluminum, mild steel, advanced high strength steels, materials for surface sensitive panels as well as structural components. With 8kW systems, simple shapes in material thicknesses from 0.5 to 0.75mm can be cut with speeds approaching 2.2 metres/second, making laser blanking a viable and competitive manufacturing choice for volumes of less than 100,000 per year.
When LaserCoil upgraded its systems from a 4kw to 6kW laser, it produced a 10 -25 per cent increase in speed, enabling the systems to cut 0.5 to 0.75mm thick materials at 1.5 metres/second. Since then, the company has developed multiple head systems capable of improving throughput by 85 per cent, its own LaserCoil CAM software, a multi-mode option and integrated robotic stacking, as well as this recent 8kw capability. Currently, there are four LaserCoil cutting systems installed and running production.