High-speed label cutter
At Labelexpo Americas 2004 in Chicago, AB Graphic International (Bridlington, East Yorkshire, England; www.abgint.com) introduced the Sabre Extreme MK2, a laser label die cutting unit that offers job changeover in seconds and minimal wastage because real-time tracking guarantees perfect register of print to cut.
Optimized for digitally printed webs, the unit offers advantages over conventional die cutting, such as no tooling. Once the die line is downloaded from the prepress department, the image is stepped across the web, and the power is selected, the MK2 is ready to start producing. It’s so fast and easy you will be producing finished labels while the competition is ordering tooling.
The Sabre Extreme features a Synrad (www.synrad.com) Firestar 200W CO2 laser that can kiss-cut, through-cut, and/or perforate up to 20,000 hours MTBF.
The 3XB 3-Axis Scan Head from Nutfield Technology Inc. (Windham, NH; www.nutfieldtech.com) offers laser system designers small spot sizes, large scan fields, and the ability to mark on contoured surfaces. According to the company, this product is the only 3-axis scan head that allows for different field and spot size combinations by simply turning a knob to adjust the spacing between the translator and objective lens. The lens translator houses an expander lens, which moves linearly along the axis of the beam to correct for focus, in real time, as a function of an X/Y position within the scan field. Lens sets are custom selected to accommodate a variety of laser beam apertures and wavelengths, and to optimize spot size and field size requirements.
Productive laser cutting
Bystronic (Hauppauge, NY; www.bystronic.com), has introduced two products for increased productivity: the Bylaser 5200 ARC laser and the Byspeed 4.4 cutter.
The Bylaser 5200 ARC produces 5.2 kW of CO2 power with Adaptive Radius Control for optimal piercing and cutting performance.
The Byspeed 4.4 powered by a 4.4kW CO2 laser, with a new laser control, can process sheet as well as plate, out-producing other laser cutters with 5- and even 6kW power, a definite cost savings per unit cut. And in a fully automated version, this unit can run “lights out” for maximum productivity.
Virtek (Waterloo, Ont.; www.virtek.ca) introduces two new laser systems for marking and engraving: the Foba G-Series for 3D engraving and the Foba Vario Series for laser marking.
The G-Series is designed to engrave 2D and 3D features on curved surfaces for applications in tool molds, blow molds, mold inserts, etc. These models can handle workpieces up to 400 kg, and an optional cylinder engraving unit is available.
The Vario Series Class I laser markers offer a marking field of 110mm x 110mm, which can be enlarged to 290mm x 290mm. The series can be equipped with a variety of lasers to suit applications in surface marking and engraving.
Raising the marking standard
P.T.G. Industries (Lake Mary, FL; www.ptgindustries.com) says it has raised the standard for laser markers with the introduction of its Q-switched fiber laser marking system. This low-cost unit is offered as an alternative to lamp-pumped and side-pumped diode and end-pumped diode lasers. The unit features a Q-switched fiber laser, scanning head, PCI board, power supply, and software configured for specific applications.
FAST Laser brochure
A brochure on the Hypertherm (Hanover, NH; www.hypertherm.com) patented FAST Laser process and its application in the LH-Series explains how FAST Laser heads deliver up to a 20% increase in cut speed over standard CO2 laser heads on plate steel and a minimum 10% increase in cut speed on mild steel. Robust LH-Series heads expand the capacity and quality range of plate-laser cutting systems, while reducing sensitivity to common plate fabricating conditions and variables, producing gains in productivity and unattended operation potential.
Single-axis servo controller
The Soloist single-axis servo controller from Aerotech Inc. (Pittsburgh; www.aerotech.com) combines power supply, amplifier, and position controller in a single, compact package and can control up to four tasks simultaneously, as well as handle variables and manage I/O for demanding applications. High-speed position latch inputs and advanced data-logging capabilities, make it ideal for industrial applications.
An aggressively priced, high-precision gantry (HPG) from Rockwell Automation (Shirley, NY; www.anorad.com) features modular construction for design flexibility. Each axis can be ordered with either iron core or ironless linear servo motors, with both motors available in coil lengths to suit an application’s power requirements. Standard X-axis travel is up to 1000 mm and Y-axis travel is up to 1100 mm, making the HPG suitable for high-throughput, micron-level precision motion common in electronics applications.
High-quality-power diode laser
Aculight Corporation (Bothell, WA; www.aculight.com) has combined the output from seven diode laser bars to generate 26 W of near diffraction-limited light at 820 nm in a rugged and efficient external cavity unit. Spectral Beam Combining (SBC), a power-scalable technique, overlays the outputs of many laser emitters into a single, near-diffraction-limited beam, thereby opening the possibility of using diode lasers in applications that demand high-power, high-beam-quality light, and as a pump source for fiber lasers.
Driver for blue lasers
The latest addition to the line of laser drivers from iC-Haus (Bodenheim, Germany; www.ichaus.de) is the iC-WKM, which permits safe CW operation in blue laser diodes. This easy-to-use product, which features a current capacity to 350 mA (accurate to 3%) and a wide supply voltage range to 15 V, is available as an SO8 package.
Ultra pure water monitor
Particle Measuring Systems (Boulder, CO; www.pmeasuring.com) has introduced a stainless-steel enclosure with a dual filtration system for its Ultra DI products. The combination of filters is the equivalent of a sub-10,000-class environment inside the enclosure, ensuring longer laser lifetime, improving reliability, and eliminating premature laser failures due to particle contamination.
Compressed air system guide
Kaeser Compressors (Fredericksburg, VA; www.kaeser.com) offers “Designing Your Compressed Air System” guide with glossary covering steps necessary to build a reliable supply of clean, dry air at consistent pressure. Advice covers demand, requirements, storage, distribution and layout considerations.
Laser cutting guide
“Laser Cutting Guide for Manufacturing” by Charles Caristan, published by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (Dearborn, MI; www.sme.org) is a hands-on reference for engineers, owners, managers and shop floor operators involved in laser cutting. The book is a roadmap for developing, implementing, operating, maintaining, and benchmarking laser cutting manufacturing. It covers cutting thin sheet metal, thick plates, roll-formed parts, hydroformed parts and 3-D shaped stampings, explaining today’s engineering and business challenges and opportunities.
Silver mirror shines
With the development of the Silflex MKII metallic mirror Unaxis Optics Division (Liechtenstein; www.optics.unaxis.com) has achieved a breakthrough in the field of silver mirrors. With a reflection rate of more than 98% across a wavelength from 0.45-50 microns the Silflex MKII is resistant to environmental influences including hydrogen sulfide and can be used in laser applications beyond data projection. The silver mirror is competitively priced, free from losses, and has stable characteristics across a wide temperature range. A variety of base materials can be used for the coating process.
New LightGage detector system
Laser Tools Co. Inc. (Little Rock, AR; www.lasertoolsco.com) has introduced the Model L202 Dual Beam Alignment Laser for applications that include flatness and straightness measurements to ±0.001 in. with resolution of 0.0001 in. A BeamBender with magnetic mounting is also included for roll alignments. Material handling conveyor systems use the L202 and BeamBender for measuring straightness and drive system alignment, lessening downtime and improving production.
CAD conversion software
Software from J P Sercel Associates (JPSA, Hollis, NH; www.jpsalaser.com) converts CAD file information into macro processes and programs for performing direct write functions with the laser beam. Users create a CAD drawing that represents paths or patterns for the laser to follow. The software then takes that information and automatically programs the machine to scribe, dice, pattern, text-mark, cut out parts, and perform other applications involving the use of a laser as a cutting tool. The Windows-based software works with JPSA’s excimer and DPSS workstations on a variety of substrates. It also works in conjunction with JPSA’s standard laser control software.
High-performance digital positioners
The Logix 32001Q and 500si series positioners from Flowserve Corp. (Dallas; www.flowserve.com) are easy to configure and calibrate, and offer easily accessible diagnostic information to minimize plant downtime. LEDs provide instant information relating to internal diagnostic codes, and a direct user interface enables the positioner to provide fast and easy configuration.
Fiber laser-powered stencil cutter
According to Synova (Ecublens, Switzerland; www.synova.ch), its LSS 800 F stencil cutter cuts from 1 to 10 holes per second (equivalent to 36,000 apertures per hour) without any heat damage, burrs, or oxidation. Featuring the company’s Laser-Microjet technology, the LSS 800 F uses a fiber laser source uniquely suited for thin, high-precision stencils and masks. The applied fiber laser emits pulses at a repetition rate of between 20kHz and 50kHz, with a pulse duration measured in nanoseconds. This results in a very fine cut, a higher cutting speed, and higher accuracy as compared to a conventional laser source. The fiber core diameter, 100 μm, also enables the user to apply thinner water jets (below 30 μm).
Low-power CO2 lasers
According to Coherent (Santa Clara, CA; www.coherent.com), its Diamond C-55 and Diamond C-70 CO2 OEM lasers provide more than 55W and 70W of output power, respectively, at 10.55 to 10.63 μm. Their M2 <1.2 (<1.3 for the C-70) beam quality makes them suitable for medium- to high-volume marking, engraving, and desktop manufacturing. The C-55 was built using the same laser cavity as its predecessor, the GEM-50. However, its power supply RF driver is integrated into the same housing as the laser head, making the unit more compact. Also, Coherent says the C-55 provides 10 percent higher power than the GEM-50. The C-55 comes in air-cooled and liquid-cooled versions and features a rise time of less than 60 μs. The C-70 uses an asymmetrical optical cavity to obtain 70W of power from the same integrated package and comes in elliptical and circular versions.
CONCOA’s (Virginia Beach, VA; www. concoa.com) 601 Series laser gas delivery system regulator incorporates new M2 technology to minimize atmospheric contamination caused by deposited contaminates that reduce laser power output and distort beam-mode quality. The company says stable emission and higher resonator efficiencies are achievable because of the system’s low internal volume construction and smooth flow paths that eliminate dead space as potential entrapment sites for moisture or hydrocarbons. The 601 Series also offers an optional integral purge assembly and an internal check valve that reportedly guarantee gas purity and lower maintenance costs.
Absorbing head detector
Ophir Optronics’ (Wilmington, MA; www.ophiropt.com) Model 30(150) A-SV Volume absorbing detector head offers a damage threshold for power density of 100KW/cm2 and a damage threshold for energy density for nanosecond pulses of 1J/cm2, making it suitable for use with very hard-to-measure beams that have extremely high power and energy density. In addition to measuring up to 30W continuously and 150W intermittently, the Model 30(150) A-SV offers a spectral range of 0.19-12μm, a power range of 50mW-150W, and an energy range of 50mJ-200J.
Compact laser tool setter
The newest addition to Renishaw’s (Hoffman Estates, IL; www.renishaw.com) line of non-contact laser tool setting systems is the ultra-compact NC4 laser, which features tool setting transmitter and receiver units measuring 30x35mm, making it an adaptable solution for hard-to-fit machine tools. The NC4 system offers highly repeatable tool setting at system separations of up to 5 meters. Depending on separation distances, tools as small as 0.2mm in diameter can be measured at any selected point along the laser beam, and breakage detection can be carried out on tools as small as 0.1mm.
Microgage kit for large machine tools
Pinpoint Laser Systems (Newburyport, MA; www.pinlaser.com) has introduced its Microgage 2000 Universal Alignment Kit, designed to enable maintenance personnel and production teams to check and align their machine tools for improved operation and efficiency. The Kit consists of a laser transmitter and a digital receiver that is connected to a handheld display. Readings appear on a large LCD display and alignment units are presented in 0.001- or 0.0001-inch increments, or in millimeters. The Kit also includes an interface cable so that users can upload readings to a laptop or PC for analysis. Plus, a rotating base is included for setting and checking flat planes such as machine beds, roller assemblies, sliding mechanical stages, and other planar equipment.
Hinged around sealed DC laser technology, NLC Laser’s (Phelps, WI) Integrator Series Lasers produce a stable and intense pinpoint heat source, making them suitable for high-speed processing in non-metal applications. According to the company, because they can drill holes as small as 0.002 inch in diameter, the lasers can be used for cutting, marking, perfing, sealing, and kiss-cutting. What’s more, energy from one unit can be split and delivered to multiple processing points. The lasers operate on single-phase 120-volt AC electricity and can be configured for non-U.S. power applications. They come with a wide range of options and accessories, including beam steering optics for processing moving parts or moving webs, and configuration memory for fast changeover from one production run to the next. Prices start at $10,000.
An ultra-compact size of 145x98x40mm is a key feature of IMRA America’s (Ann Arbor, MI; www.imra.com) new Femtolite Ultra product line. According to the company, with this series IMRA is expanding its offering for seeding Ti:Sapphire regenerative amplifiers with the sub-hundred femtosecond FX-10, centered at 800 nm wavelength. The easy-to-use lasers also are tested to IEC standards for shock and vibration.
Designed for harsh aerospace and manufacturing environments, the Ring-Spaced Etalon from CVI Technical Optics (Onchan, Isle of Man; www.cvilaser.com) is available in wavelengths ranging from 193 nm to 1500 nm, with air gaps from 25 μm to 15 mm and apertures from 15 mm to 75 mm. According to the company, the Ring-Spaced Etalon has been tested and survived vibrational forces of 28Gs.
Unfolding sheet metal
Applied Production Inc. (Milford, OH; www.appliedproduction.com) has released a new version of its ProFold sheet metal unfolding software that supports KeyCreator 3.0 CAD software from Kubotek USA. The ProFold software is available in three versions-ProFold Solids, which unfolds solid models; ProFold Wireframe, which is also included with ProFold Solids and is used to unfold 3D wireframe models of sheet metal parts; and ProFold Lite, an entry-level program geared toward users whose parts are simple and have a limited number of bends. Versions also are available for use with CADKEY and AutoCAD software.