An example of a technology that is helping companies do more with fewer kilowatts is Amada’s Locus Beam Control (LBC) technology, which currently is available only on the company’s Ventis 3015 AJ fibre laser table, a 4kW machine. But with the technology the machine can reach speeds similar to those of a 6kW machine with an improved finish on parts. And being a 4kW machine, it has a lower initial investment associated with it.
“The machine uses a single 4kW module, which means it has fewer combining points and a simpler beam delivery system, so it produces a purer beam, which helps with the speed and edge quality of the completed part,” said Dustin Diehl, laser division product manager, Amada America Inc. “Some builders would use several modules to deliver that wattage. Having fewer, higher-powered diodes in a single module means a simpler design and fewer potential points of failure.”
The LBC technology adds another level of complexity to how the machine operates.
In conventional fibre laser cutting systems, energy density reduces as material thickness increases, resulting in a lack of efficiency. In contrast, LBC technology offers flexible beam pattern control matched to each application, while retaining high-efficiency cutting and high-energy density. As a result of this development, the VENTIS achieves cutting speeds up to three times faster than a conventional 4kW fibre laser while producing superior edge quality, Amada claims
“Many technologies in the market use optical manipulation of the beam to make it possible to cut both thin and thick materials cleanly using fibre lasers,” said Diehl. “What this technology does instead I liken to welding techniques and patterns. Each application has a different way in which it has to be welded, and that is how we have to look at materials; each material has a different way in which, ideally, it can be cut. With the LBC we actually move the beam back and forth, side to side, in a circle (there are many different configurations) within the diameter of the nozzle to get the smoothest edge possible on the part. For cosmetic applications, particularly on stainless steel, that is really important.”
In certain applications, Diehl has seen this technology achieve speeds 30 per cent faster than other Amada machines that run at the same wattage. As he explained, this speed increase is also aided by a new control system and the way it communicates with the drive system.
This is an example of how newer technologies can serve niche markets without breaking the bank on kilowatt investments.
“This technology will run material like 18 gauge stainless much faster than a conventional 4kW fibre laser,” said Diehl. “The quality achieved with LBC also makes it suitable for the food and medical industries. And for a job shop, the variety of configurations offered by the LBC means that it can cut thicker material cleanly. While the speed won’t be as great with thicker materials, edge quality is still improved, meaning that with any parts you produce there are time savings in post-processing.”
Diehl also stressed the kerf mode the technology offers.
“If you think about the game ‘Operation’ we played as kids, that’s what automated part picking can feel like with fibre lasers,” he said. “The kerf can be so thin that it’s difficult to pick parts out of a sheet. The LBC is designed to increase that kerf value to create more space around the skeleton, creating greater success rates in part picking.”
For further details contact Amada Johannesburg on TEL: 011 453 5459 or visit www.amada.co.jp