Company will service and sell fiber source for laser application machines whether it is sheet, plate, tube or additive manufacturing solutions.
TRM Supplies has announced that the company has been appointed the agent and distributor of SPI Lasers, a UK-based company. SPI Lasers, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trumpf Group, is a leading designer and manufacturer of fiber lasers for welding, cutting, marking, drilling and micro-machining.
Founded in 1999 as a spin off from the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton, where it continues to retain a state-of-the-art R&D laboratory, SPI has been a leading innovator since the early days of active fiber development. Since 2008 the company has been wholly owned by the Trumpf Group and in 2015 it successfully acquired JK Lasers, bringing together two businesses with combined experience of providing effective laser solutions stretching over more than 50 years.
Holding strong positions in the US and Europe, and with an ever-growing presence within Asia, SPI Lasers’ product portfolio covers countless application process areas across a range of critical industries.
TRM Supplies has announced that the company has been appointed the agent and distributor of SPI Lasers, a UK-based company
“Our key markets are Asia, the United States and Europe, with approximately 95 per cent of our production capacity being exported outside of the UK,” explained SPI’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Greenwood during an interview with Manufacturing Today.
“Our customers are predominantly machine builders looking to integrate innovative, reliable lasers into their products to supply global manufacturing industries with a high-quality precision product that enhances productivity, while simultaneously reducing costs. Our expert capabilities have resulted in our lasers making their way into a variety of global industries, including the automotive, electronics, aerospace, medical, additive manufacturing, solar and telecoms sectors.”
“It was the Asian, particularly the Chinese, as well as the European market that helped create conditions suitable for very strong growth for SPI in 2017. We secured some big contracts in China within the consumer electronics market over the last 12 months, while also achieving good traction in Europe, especially in the world of additive manufacturing, and across both regions in the field of 3D printing where our lasers play a key role in metal powder bed fusion systems,” continued Greenwood.
“A great deal of our growth is currently originating from new applications for our lasers, which is helping SPI to gain market share in the industrial lasers sector, which is growing at an average of eight per cent a year. In response to this, we are developing multiple new processes, made up of combinations of lasers and applications, where we bring the two together in a novel way to solve all manner of processing problems.”
“One of the key areas that we are developing is the continued improvement of our manufacturing activities. In addition to making lasers we also make our own fiber, all the fuse components and all other sub-assemblies, and this has meant that we have become highly vertically integrated, which gives us an increased ability to design and ring fence IP, as well as optimise price performance within our core markets.”
SPI Lasers are manufacturers of industrial pulsed and CW (continuous wave) fiber lasers. Pulsed fiber lasers are manufactured from 20W to 250W for marking, welding, engraving, frilling, thin foil cutting, thin film patterning, micro machining and layer removal. The CW fiber lasers range from 300W to 10kW. These particular lasers are used for cutting, drilling, welding, soldering, scribing, material processing, cladding and heating
SPI Lasers are manufacturers of industrial pulsed and CW (continuous wave) fiber lasers. Pulsed fiber lasers are manufactured from 20W to 250W for marking, welding, engraving, frilling, thin foil cutting, thin film patterning, micro machining and layer removal. The CW fiber lasers range from 300W to 10kW. These particular lasers are used for cutting, drilling, welding, soldering, scribing, material processing, cladding and heating.
Additive Manufacturing works with a range of materials
“SPI Lasers have also been very active in the field of additive manufacturing (AM). AM is one of the most exciting technologies to be unveiled in recent years, with the possibilities for both consumers and in industry almost limitless. There are many different additive processes, each of which has its own different purpose. At the very core of this are the 3D printing machines, with the technology ranging from basic consumer designs to those being used in heavy industry. Fiber lasers are incredibly versatile and capable of many different fiber laser applications, ranging from precision micro-machining operations, to heavy duty industrial processes i.e. welding,” explained Guenter Schmitz of TRM Supplies.
“3D metal additive manufacturing has changed the entire design and manufacturing process, creating possibilities which were hitherto unthinkable from aerospace and medical to automotive. The benefits of additive manufacturing with fiber lasers can’t be underestimated.”
“Here are just a few of the benefits of using this technology:
• Complex and intricate shapes – the most complex, unusual and unique of shapes can be produced. This is why the process is frequently adopted in the jewellery industry
• Lightweight parts – as AM is layer by layer even hollow parts can be produced. This can help massively in reducing the weight of parts, which otherwise would have extra materials increasing the weight. Lighter components are particularly valuable in industries such as aerospace and aviation
• No joins needed – absolutely no welding or joints are needed as the design is printed. This increases the strength and visual appeal of items manufactured
• Prototype production – AM is ideal for rapid prototyping and can significantly cut the time to market for new products
• Small batch production – AM is ideal for small batch production, where even the smallest of batches can cost-justify and require no special tools and setup time (which is not the case with traditional manufacturing processes)
• Tool-less production – parts, components and other items can be produced without the need for additional tools, which can be expensive to manufacture and maintain.”
Printing the design
“Regardless of the material being used, the process for additive manufacturing begins, in the same way, each time. First of all, the design for the item needs to be created. When you’re ready to print, you first need to fill the machine with a powdered version of your desired material. This chamber then releases the powder to be laid down, one layer at a time. Each layer is wafer-thin, sometimes taking days to build up to the full-sized model. The powder is solidified by a laser that runs over it gradually layer by layer, starting from the bottom and moving to the top. Two methods are used: Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS).”
SPI Lasers’ 8kW power source
“Just to make things even more confusing there is also Selective Laser Melting (SLM) a slightly different process, achieving a full melt rather than sintering the powder. There is another process often referred to: Laser Cusing. Although there are some very minor technical differences, it’s essentially a type of melting.”
“With other benefits such as rapid prototyping and small batch production, one thing is for certain, AM in all its flavours and different processes is here to stay!”
“SPI Lasers’ continuous wave (CW) fiber lasers are ideal for implementing additive manufacturing processes.”
variMODE switchable beam delivery feature
SPI Lasers has recently announced the launch of variMODE, a switchable beam delivery feature now available as an option on all their 3kW to 10kW high power CW fiber lasers.
variMODE allows users to tailor their fiber laser system to optimise the beam characteristics, including spot size and beam profile, specific to their application, whether that be cutting, welding or piercing.
TRM Supplies imports a wide variety of new laser and plasma cutters, press brakes, punching machines, guillotines and other metal forming, grinding and cutting tools under its own brand.
For further details contact TRM Supplies on TEL 011 974 7744 or visit www.trmsupplies.co.za