Fabtech 2012: What we'll see for industrial lasers

Hours before Fabtech 2012, here's a quick rundown of some industrial laser-related products and events we'll be watching.

As we make final preparations for next week's Fabtech show in Las Vegas, here are a few things we'll be checking into. If you have a new product, application story, or questions about industrial lasers for material processing, stop by our booth (#C8520) or drop us a line via email (Belforte@Pennwell.com, jamesm@pennwel.com).


TeraDiode (#8523)

TeraDiode will introduce its TeraBlade 2000, a 2 kW ultrahigh-brightness direct-diode laser (970nm, 100 μm output fiber) for cutting steel and other metals. (A wavelength beam combining feature was invented and patented by MIT and is exclusively licensed to TeraDiode.) The system is scalable up to 6 kW for a wide range of laser cutting and laser welding applications. Beta shipment to multiple customers are planned in 1Q13; higher-power lasers will be introduced "in the coming quarters," according to the company.


Trumpf (#C3016)

Trumpf will be hosting a "Race Arena" pitting CO2 vs. fiber laser systems side-by-side to compare each systems' strengths in processing parts of different geometries and material types and thickness. In one corner: the Trumpf TruLaser 1030 with CO2 laser resonator; in the other corner, the TruLaser 1030 fiber with solid-state laser. Results are provided in real time for attendees to make their own evaluations. The best part: Trumpf wins no matter what!

Trumpf's TruLaser 5030 fiber with 5 kW TruDisk solid-state laser (fiber-delivered) will make its North American debut, able to cut mild steel up to 1-in. and at multiple-times-faster speeds vs. CO2 systems. And the company will also have its usual array of systems on display for 2D laser cutting and laser marking, as well as a "cafe" with live video feeds of systems in action back at its Farmington, CT headquarters.


Mitsubishi Laser (#C3040)

Mitsubishi's new 3015 NX-F Fiber Laser will be unveiled -- "there are plenty of fiber laser systems available out there, but you've never seen one like this before," the company promises. It comes standard with a fiber laser oscillator, a z-axis linear drive, head preset auto-focus processing, a 64-bit NC with 15-in. touch screen NC-panel, and more. The stroke will be 125.9-in. (3198 mm) × 62.9-in. (1598 mm) × 4.7-in. (119 mm), with positioning accuracy of 0.0019/20-in. (0.05/500 mm). The single-axis machines will have a rapid traverse rate of 4724 in. (120 m) per minute, or 6680 in. (170 m) per minute on simultaneous machines.

Mitsubishi also will be showing its 2D eX laser machine, a fifth-generation system replacing the former LVP series; new to this show will be eX model 3015 eX 60XF, featuring a powerful 6000 watt resonator. Another featured product will be the XL Laser line of large-size laser processing machines.


Amada America (#C3916)

Amada will be showing its FOL3015AJ fiber laser, the "world's fastest fiber laser" which it says cuts thin material 2-3× faster than a comparable 4 kW CO2 laser. Rapid transverse speeds are 13,380 in/min, with 5G acceleration speed for the entire work envelope.

Amada also has added a rotary index to its FOM2 laser cutting system, located on one of three interchangeable shuttle pallets, making it extremely easy to switch from flat sheet cutting to tube or pipe cutting.


Hypertherm (#N3906)

Hypertherm's laser-related unveiling at Fabtech is the HFL030, a new 3 kW fiber laser system designed specifically for metal laser cutting applications, including marking and fine-feature cutting. The system offers consistent cut quality across many materials at even greater thicknesses, higher cut speed for increases in productivity, and lower operating costs on thinner material when compared to CO2 laser or plasma.


Haco Atlantic (#C3440)

Haco Atlantic is showing the Laser Plus, a high-precision laser cutting system built in collaboration with Cutlite Penta, usable with both CO2 and fiber lasers from 2-6 kW. Features include smart fast piercing and auto-focusing functions, with linear motors that allow extremely high rapid speeds up to 140 m/min and acceleration over 2.5 g. The advanced CNC processor provides smooth axes movement (six interpolating processes and a maximum of 31 axes) that is completely integrated for cutting and processing of many metals, from thin shim stock to heavy plate up to one inch thick.


Bystronic (C4328)

Bystronic's BySprint Fiber 3015 with fiber laser source targets thin sheet metal, with enough power to cut steel up to 3/4-in. thick with high process reliability and precision; even nonferrous metals can be cut. Benefits include lower operating, maintenance and energy costs.


Coherent (#C7309)

Coherent will be demonstrating its new META processing tool.


Laser Mechanisms (#C3810)

Laser Mechanisms debuted its FiberCut Right Angle, Compact (RAc) laser processing head at LASYS 2012 this spring, and will be showing it at Fabtech. The head is nearly 30% smaller and lighter than the original FiberCut for even tighter access robotic cutting. It's engineered for 3-dimensional robotic cutting with a fiber-coupled laser.


Praxair (#N5202)

Praxair is showing new CNC cutting tables and an arc welding training system -- but the real draw is a silent auction of a West Coast Customs-built go cart (built using Praxair machines and gases), in honor of Veterans Day. Proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. WCC founder/CEO/TV frontman Ryan Friedlinghaus will be signing autographs in the Praxair booth Monday and Tuesday afternoons; the highest bidder for the cart will be announced Wednesday morning.

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