Manufacturing technology on display

The latest in laser production and technology is being showcased at IMTS 2006

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The latest in laser production and technology is being showcased at IMTS 2006

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International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS 2006) will be the 26th edition of the largest manufacturing and technology show in North America. More than 1200 exhibiting companies will occupy more than 1,150,000 square feet of exhibit space at the McCormick Place complex in Chicago, IL, from September 6 through 13. Held in even-numbered years, this show is expected to attract more than 85,000 attendees from 80 countries.

The exhibits are organized in pavilions that are geared toward specific industries, technologies, and solutions, including metal forming and fabricating/lasers. ILS has contacted the laser-related exhibitors to find out what they will be showcasing at IMTS. The responses we received are highlighted on the next few pages.

Schmidt Marking Systems (Niles, IL) will be showing products from its line of laser marking systems, ranging from Nd:YAG, YVO4, CO2, and fiber laser systems, with power levels ranging from 5 to 100 watts and easy-to-use software with barcode and 2D matrix capabilities.

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The new M/X YAG laser marking system from Vytek (Fitchburg, MA) integrates a fiber YAG laser into an enclosed wide-format, flatbed, gantry system. Designed to offer flexibility in marking metal, plastics, and other related surfaces while optimizing productivity, the system features a full enclosure, optional auto focus, and a choice of three large work areas. In addition, the M/X is available with a fume scrubber, a Windows print driver, an Ethernet interface, and fiber YAG laser choices from 10 to 100 watts. The company will also be displaying one of its YAG laser galvo marking systems and a sealed CO2 laser cutting and engraving system.

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The new air cutting capabilities of the TC L 2510 laser cutting machine will be highlighted in the TRUMPF (Farmington, CT) booth. Designed for fast, automated production, the system combines an integral load and unload device with high-speed laser cutting. The system can use compressed air as an assist gas to cut steel, stainless steel, galvanized steel, and aluminum and titanium. Air cutting is faster and more cost effective than cutting with oxygen and nitrogen and offers an edge finish with much less oxidation than an oxygen-cut edge.

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Universal Laser Systems’ (Scottsdale, AZ) XL Series provides state-of-the-art industrial laser cutting, engraving, and marking with a combination of high power (up to 400 watts using two air-cooled lasers), oversize 36- x 24-inch and 48- x 24-inch processing fields, and advanced standalone job management capabilities. The company’s VersaLaser is a compact, light-industrial CO2 laser system that delivers permanent metal marking using special optics or metal marking compound. It incorporates a materials-based print driver and is available with 16- x 12-inch and 24- x 12-inch processing fields and up to 50 watts of laser power.

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The 1900 series BrightStar welding systems from Crafford-LaserStar Technologies Corp. (Riverside, RI) are used for a wide range of metal joining and repair applications. They are available in 110V and 220V single-phase models while providing 50- and 80-joule energy output. A variety of optical viewing systems is available to meet specific application needs. The product’s electrical design efficiency ensures a high level of hot-light energy transfer from the laser source through the welding chamber while providing 24-hour continuous operation without overheating. The company also offers the 7500 series FiberStar workstations for medical device and micro-component assembly applications. They are available in 50- and 70-watt pulsed and CW output energy output levels.

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An entry-level deep engraving laser system, the FOBA G5 from Virtek Vision International Inc. (Waterloo, ON) offers a flexible deep engraving platform with a full range of laser and motion options. It is capable of supporting full 3D deep engraving for tool molds, mold inserts, stamping and printing dies, and electrodes for EDM. The product also can be used for decorative engraving. It includes an automated 500mm Z travel and the FOBA 3D and FOBA EMC deep engraving software.

Featuring an all-welded aluminum frame, the FB100 from Baublys Control Laser (Orlando, FL) incorporates a 20W fiber laser, ideal for small batches or light industrial marking. Measuring 24- x 27- x 31.5-inches, the benchtop workstation has a small footprint yet provides a 21- x 24-inch work area. Features include a 12-inch marking field, programmable Z-axis, exhaust fan, tooling plate, and interior light as standard.

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Mecco’s (Ingomar, PA) MeccoMark is a 20W, Q-switched fiber-delivered Ytterbium laser marking system. It can permanently mark critical information in the form of both 2D data matrix and human readable. The company’s SafetySeal, a patent-pending CDRH Class 1 approved design, confines the laser beam to a small, light-tight enclosure. The company reports that Ford Motor Company’s transmission plant in Livonia, MI, will use this technology in its transmission product line.

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The KLS 246FC from Lasag Industrial Lasers (Buffalo Grove, IL) is a Swiss-quality solid-state laser system. Covering a working range up to 250 watts, the product has been engineered for fine cutting of highly reflective materials. It has applications in various industries, including medical device, electronic, automotive, and aerospace.

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PRC Laser (Landing, NJ) is unveiling its FH 8000 CO2 laser, expanding its product line offering additional power for welding and heat treating applications as well as offering high power for thick section cutting of aluminum and stainless steel alloys. A range of beam quality options are available to suit different applications. The company is also showing its compact XL 1800 laser.

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A new dual galvo, fiber-pulsed laser, the Gemini from Telesis (Circleville, OH) can mark two patterns at once, and is available in either 10W or 20W models. Ideal for marking electronic and medical products, the product offers quality, speed, and value combined with proven fiber technology. The company will also premier its new line of high-speed Xpress diode-pumped lasers. These solid-state, end-pumped models offer an average diode life greater than 15,000 working hours.

New CO2 lasers from Lazonics LLC (Houston, TX) boast lower maintenance, lower operating cost, high efficiency, and less downtime, according to the company. With ratings that range from 1kW to 6kW, the footprint of each laser is about the size of a medium suitcase and weighs around 150 pounds. Optical quality of the beam is close to the diffraction limit (M2 < 1.2), while overall efficiency can reach 16 percent. Reportedly, the travel area is unlimited on an XY cutting table when integrated with a Lazonic laser because these lasers do not require an optical delivery system. The laser can be mounted directly above the cutting surface.

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II-IV Infrared’s (Saxonburg, PA) MP-5 is an ultra-low absorbing lens that ships direct from the factory as a standard CO2 laser component. Features include a typical absorption of <0.12 percent, visible HeNe laser light transmission, and reduced thermal lensing. A specially coated ZnSe focusing lens, the MP-5 is available in both 1.5-inch and 2.0-inch diameters, and ships in 14 standard replacement lens configurations for most popular OEM laser models.

Control Systemation (Orlando, FL) has developed a software package that enables users to draw rectangles, circles, lines, complex shapes or import DXF files and superimpose them on a real-time image of a part. Combined with one of the company’s laser micromachining systems, the Draw Lase Master software can be used on a broad range of applications for industrial parts and materials. Reportedly, the laser parameters are easily configurable and once set to a material can be saved for reuse later on.

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Bysoft 6.7 software from Bystronic (Hauppauge, NY) offers advanced synchronization of laser, press brake, and waterjet processes.

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A new version of SigmaNest nesting CAD/CAM software is available from SigmaTek Systems (Cincinnati, OH). Some of the main features include autodynamic nesting and auto tooling. Safety clamp zones and repositioning are also included in the software. Manual programming has also been added as an option.

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Pinpoint Laser Systems (Newburyport, MA) is introducing the Microgage Laser Alignment System for use in manufacturing plants and production facilities. Reportedly the product is easy to use, improves manufacturing efficiency, increases machine life, and reduces downtime by ensuring that moving elements and components are well aligned to each other.

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Aerotech’s (Pittsburgh, PA) Soloist CP is a single-axis servo controller that combines a power supply, amplifier, and position controller in a single package. According to the company the advanced software architecture shortens customer development time by including support for C#, VB.Net, C++, and LabView. The product can control up to five tasks simultaneously, as well as handle variables and manage IO, making it well suited for demanding production applications.

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According to Laser Mechanisms (Farmington Hills, MI), its Mitsubishi Cutting Head Upgrade brings state-of-the-art laser processing technology to existing Mitsubishi flatbed cutting machines. The head features a cartridge-style lens holder, which enables users to easily remove lenses for inspection or cleaning, and replace them without the need for realignment. Single and multiple focal length designs are available to match users’ cutting requirements. Magnetic crash protection allows for immediate head reset using no tools.

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