Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Application Test Demonstrates Laser Cut Speed

An application test has been carried out to demonstrate the cut speed and quality achieved while using a Firestar F-Series laser to cut automotive headliners. This particular semi-rigid headliner material is comprised of several layers of synthetic fibres, with a total thickness of 1.3mm (0.050in) bonded to a 1.4mm (0.056in) thick paperboard base for an overall thickness of 2.7mm (0.106in).

The cutting head on the Synrad flatbed XY table contains a 63.5mm (2.5in) positive meniscus lens that provides a 100-micron (0.004in) spot with a 1.8mm (0.07in) depth of focus. During the cutting process, 4.1 bar (60lb/in2) of clean, dry air was delivered coaxially with the beam for gas assist.

The Firestar lasers achieved cut rates of 14m/min (550in/min) using 400W and speeds of 7m/min (275in/min) using 200W of power. In both cases, the synthetic fibre was cleanly cut while the paperboard base exhibits slight charring of the cut edge. CO2 lasers continue to excel in automotive applications as manufacturers strive to improve vehicle quality and cost savings during manufacturing.

Integrating a laser with an industrial robot or flatbed cutting table provides a consistent method to accurately cut part after part, and the laser's non-contact cutting method means there is no need to schedule downtime for mechanical cutter adjustment or replacement.

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