Fiber laser cutting reduces job time from four days to six hours

Wheeler Fabrications installed a 3kW fiber laser cutting machine to dramatically raise productivity and product consistency.

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Wheeler Fabrications (Witton, West Midlands, England), established 35 years ago as a factory maintenance firm, gradually moved into sheet metal work. A 2013 move into its present premises increased the floor area available for production and provided additional space for installation of a 3kW Bystronic BySprint Fiber 3015 cutting machine that has taken over from an older CO2 laser. This change dramatically raises productivity and product consistency, and allows the company to reduce both lead times and costs to customers.

For example, a recent job was completed in under six hours that would have taken four days to finish on the previous CO2 laser. It involved producing 125 units from 1.5 and 3mm stainless steel sheet for oil rig safety lights.

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Wheeler Fabrications apprentice Amy Rollins operates the Bystronic BySprint Fiber 3015.

The fiber cutter is five times faster at profiling components than the CO2 machine it replaced. It is less expensive to run, as it pulls less power, does not require costly servicing of optics, and there is no need to buy helium or CO2 resonator gas. Also, the fiber laser can cut reflective materials, as there is no damage to the optics. It can process copper, brass, aluminum, and stainless steel sheet up to 3 × 1.5m in various thicknesses from 0.5 to 6mm without difficulty.

Another benefit of the Bystronic unit was the seamless interaction of the company’s Bysoft 7 nesting and 2D programming software not only with its own machine control, but also with their Radan 3D CAD/CAM modeling software.

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Fiber laser cutting in progress.

With minimizing damage to pre-plated materials in mind, and also to avoid the arduous job of physically handling sheets onto the Bystronic machine, the BySprint Fiber machine was supplied with a ByLoader 3015.

Wheeler Fabrications' highly skilled team serves a broad range of industries with design consultancy, followed by comprehensive metal cutting, folding, and fabrication services from prototyping through low-volume runs to production quantities.

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