The use of composite materials is increasing significantly in UK manufacturing, due to the advantages they offer in terms of light weight, high strength and corrosion resistance. Some challenges exist however, in the profiling of intricate geometry with acceptable quality. Traditional methods of machining, for example routing and shearing, can cause de-lamination of the material and loose fibres can remain at the edges which may cause problems of contamination.
Tec Systems Limited have developed a flatbed laser cutting machine which offers an ideal solution for laser cutting of composites such as carbon fibre reinforced plastics, PEEK and other similar materials.
Fitted with a solid state fibre laser as standard, the laser system is compact and highly efficient, requiring less electrical power and cooling water than traditional laser sources. Since the laser has excellent beam quality, the kerf width can be minimised which results in improvements in cut quality and speed of processing. The exact choice of laser source (power, wavelength, spot size) is made according to the application and Tec Systems can recommend the most appropriate solution based on application trials.
The machine is designed for manual loading by an operator, and the cutting bed has an XY table of 2 metres by 1 metre. A CNC controlled Z axis adjusts the height to cope with different thicknesses of sheet. An automatic power-operated door is raised at the end of the cutting cycle, allowing the operator to promptly unload the machine.
To achieve the optimum results, a galvo head scans the profile and offers very high speed cutting (with the option of multi-pass cutting to achieve the required edge quality), in conjunction with the XY CNC interpolation which allows the cutting area to be moved dynamically over the machine bed to ensure that the results are consistent over the full size of the cutting bed.
Tec Systems work with all the major laser source manufacturers and can therefore incorporate the laser source of choice to suit customer preference and the specific application.
Tec Systems are an experienced manufacturer of laser processing systems, robotic automation and leak test systems based in the midlands, United Kingdom. Standard and bespoke systems are offered with a full service from design through manufacture, a large installed base worldwide is supported by a dedicated team of engineers.