Delcam has reported that Oxford Lasers is using PowerMill CAM to program the company's range of laser-based micro-machining systems After many years' success with 3-axis systems, Oxford Lasers is now producing 5-axis equipment.
PowerMILL enables the production of complex 3D structures on a scale of a few microns, adding a new dimension to the design of photonic devices, said Delcam. It has now become possible to manufacture an entirely new family of devices with many applications over a wide area.
Project leader responsible for micro-machining systems and applications at Oxford Lasers, Dimitris Karnakis, said that micro-machining with lasers offers distinct advantages over conventional machining technology. He believed that, comparatively, lasers can machine very quickly, more accurately and give a better surface finish. Using lasers avoids the problems associated with producing cutting tools that are small and robust enough to cut shapes at the micron level.
Karnakis said that lasers can produce the smallest shapes more effectively when compared with using EDM. When milling using a laser, the programming in the X- and Y-axis is the same as for a normal milling machine. The difference is that with laser milling, a lens moves in Z-axis to determine the width of the beam and, therefore, the position and depth of the cut. The depth of cut is also a function of the power of the laser and the material being processed.
Karnakis said: "We had problems with our existing software as soon as we tried to move to 5-axis operation; our customer suggested that we should contact Delcam and we have never looked back. We have been very satisfied, not just with the software but also with the supporting services, especially the knowledge and timely response of the staff on the help desk."