28 May 2012

Introduction to laser cutting made easy

Laser cutting used to be the sole domain of mechanical engineers who had years of specialized experience in laser beam guidance. Nowadays, however, the fiber-coupled laser makes the introduction to this technology much simpler. In a high-quality and flexible procedure, the laser beam is guided to the processing point by the optical fibers — using either multiple linear drive systems or robots — and must only be suitably conditioned for the cutting process. The new LightCutter by Precitec can master this task: simply, reliably and safely.

Efficiently and economically, the LightCutter cuts thin to medium-thick materials (such as stainless steel and aluminum) of up to 5 mm using fusion cutting and mild steel of up to 10 mm using oxide cutting. The LightCutter is integrated into flatbed cutting systems which operate within the average laser power range of 500 W to 2 kW. A variety of optical components enable the LightCutter to be perfectly adapted to the widest range of laser and process requirements.

No compromises are made in the choice of the distance sensor unit. Proven a thousand fold, the Lasermatic® System ensures a constant distance between nozzle and material at all operating temperatures, even at high processing speeds. For reliable operation, the optical elements must be protected from fusion spatter, metal dust and metal combustion elements ― so the LightCutter is completely sealed and protected from impurities in the cutting gas by an easily replaceable cutting and pressure-resistant protective window. The treated purging air in the collimator area permits neither process dust nor particles to penetrate. The sensitive optical elements are therefore reliably shielded by slightly increased pressure, even in the harshest working conditions. Quartz lenses of the highest quality ensure a stable focal position, which is extremely user-friendly, since it can be set both laterally and vertically from the outside.

In harsh production conditions, collisions with protruding parts are often inevitable. To combat this, the mechanics of the LightCutter are designed for stability. The LightCutter is ideal for integration into small and medium-sized, inexpensive flatbed cutting machines. This cutting head can also be installed in special machines with limited space — for trimming strip material in a continuous operation, or for an additional processing step in machining centers, for instance.

The LightCutter fills the gap between the FineCutter and HPSSL high-performance cutting heads, which are designed to provide top-quality results and the highest level of automation. The FineCutter has quality features, such as highly accurate beam alignment in the micron range and diffraction-limited optical components for fine cutting results. The HPSSL cutting head is today used in thousands of high-performance systems with motorized focal position adjustment and sophisticated sensors to monitor the functions and the cutting process.

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