6 January 2014

Latest RFID Sensor System Cuts Lens Cleaning Time by Forty Percent

Thanks to the inclusion of an RFID lens, the latest generation TRUMPF LensLine sensor system has even better condition monitoring capabilities than its forerunner. The result is enhanced cutting process reliability, the elimination of unnecessary down time and a reduction in lens cleaning frequency. It is also exceptionally easy to use.

In the process of cutting sheet metal, dirt particles naturally accumulate on the focusing lens in the laser cutting head. Regular maintenance is needed to clean the lens or, if necessary, fit a replacement. Historically this was determined through visual inspection but transparent deposits are often difficult to see and, if left, can compromise cutting quality.

In contrast, LensLine performs this function faster and with a higher degree of accuracy. At the press of a button, the system analyses the amount of contamination on the lens and informs the operator whether it needs to be cleaned or replaced. This condition monitoring test can also be performed automatically at pre-defined intervals.

The RFID chip attached to the lens records this data and other information such as the number of times the lens has been cleaned. The system allows greater measurement accuracy than its forerunner and is much more objective than visual inspection.

A simple traffic light system is used to display the test results on the operating console; green = OK, yellow = cleaning recommended and red = cleaning or replacement is necessary. This way the operator can schedule remedial action in line with production, without having to resort to time-consuming visual inspection.

Thanks to a schematic display that provides a complete overview of the lens cleaning cycle, the operator only has to intervene when it is absolutely necessary. In total the new LensLine system cuts cleaning times by up to 40%.

Another advantage of the new LensLine RFID technology is that it increases the reliability of the cutting process by ensuring that only lenses with the correct focal length and orientation are installed in the machine.

The system also provides additional protection if the lens is not cleaned at the prescribed intervals. If dust particles accumulate beyond a certain concentration there is a risk that the lens will absorb too much laser energy, causing it to overheat and in the worse case, start to decompose.

To prevent this, LensLine detects the first signs of the thermal degradation process and responds within a few milliseconds by switching off the laser.

The RFID LensLine is a standard feature on all TRUMPF TruLaser Series 3000 machines with CO2 laser.

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