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LaserCube

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Bromsgrove based TLM Laser have further enhanced their laser products and systems portfolio through a recent partnership agreement with IPG Photonics, the worlds leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance fiber lasers. TLM Laser will be responsible for the sales, marketing, installation and servicing of IPG’s comprehensive range of laser cutting and welding systems throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Manufactured by the worlds leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance fiber lasers IPG, LaserCube is flat bed cutter is the ideal cutting tool for metals, including mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium, copper, brass and exotic alloys. Ideally suited to smaller part sizes, prototypes and smaller production runs, the LaserCube provides the most cost-effective capacity addition and lowest cost of ownership of any professional laser cutter.

Although compact in size, LaserCube is truly a general-purpose laser cutting system with high-velocity motion stages and high CW power lasers, providing fast and efficient cutting of carbon steel parts and reflective metals such as copper, brass and aluminium.

With many alloys or higher-value metals only available in smaller-size sheets, the 1,250 mm cutting bed of the LaserCube is the perfect size for cost effective material processing. The system is also available in a wide range of different power configurations, allowing users to select the power they need.

The range of fiber lasers used within the system, are entirely solid state, with no mechanical cavity resonators or mirrors and no adjustable or replaceable parts within the laser. Light is delivered along a flexible optical fiber pipe that is plugged directly into the laser cutting head, eliminating the need for optics and any adjustments in the beam delivery path. With an emission wavelength of just 1 micron, fiber lasers’ efficiency in cutting metals is better than traditional CO2 alternatives, allowing higher cutting speeds or the option of using a lower power laser. Typical estimates show an IPG fiber laser cutting 1 mm thick steel approximately 3.5 times faster than an equivalently powered CO2 system.

The IPG’s fiber lasers used within LaserCube offer the highest wall-plug efficiency of any commercial laser. Not only is less electricity consumed whilst cutting parts, but the cooling required to remove unwanted heat is also proportionally reduced. This in turn decreases the power rating required to support the installation. Achieving in excess of 37% wall-plug power efficiency, combined with improved material coupling characteristics, IPG lasers typically use 70% less electrical energy than traditional CO2 alternatives in metal cutting applications.

The LaserCube system is offered with lasers ranging in power from 500 W to 4000 W. By offering such a broad range of options, users are able to select the exact cutting solution required. For thinner materials, the YLR-500 provides good cutting performance in a small package that is integrated within the work-cell, reducing the overall system footprint. This laser is air-cooled, eliminating the need for a chiller and reducing still further, electrical supply demands.

The higher power YLS-series lasers are mounted externally to the workstation. These are water-cooled and housed in a NEMA 12, air-conditioned and sealed cabinet, providing additional protection for harsh environments. IPG’s YLS lasers are modular, with output of several fiber laser modules combined into a single output fiber. In the unlikely event of a module failure, the remaining modules will immediately compensate for the loss by maintaining the output power and allowing part cutting to continue without interruption.

Each laser is equipped with a 100 micron output fiber and can be used over a dynamic operating range from 10% to full power with no change in beam divergence or beam profile throughout the entire range. This allows a single laser to be utilised for both high and low power applications, ideal for processing different thicknesses of metal.

The use of high-force linear motors, built on a granite stage, provides the stability and acceleration needed for high-speed precision machining. The combination of IPG’s fiber lasers and cutting head technology means that LaserCube is inherently reliable with low operating and part-processing costs. The machine’s control system offers high levels of flexibility. Stored process parameters allow precise setting and automatic adjustment of laser power based on changes in cutting head velocity for complex contoured parts. The system has computerised control of two process gasses, with automatic monitoring of cutting head conditions.

Cutting Head Standard Features

The FLC-30 cutting head use in LaserCube has been designed specifically for metal cutting applications. Taking advantage of the IPG fiber delivery, it has an extremely low weight to minimize moving mass when cutting small parts at high speed. Rated for laser power up to 10 kW and having an integrated height sensor, the FLC-30 head is compatible across the LaserCube product range.

Within the cutting head, a user-replaceable cover slide is situated between the cutting nozzle and the focusing lens and provides protection for the lens against any debris. An integrated sensor monitors the condition of the cover slide and provides a notification when a contamination threshold is exceeded. Cover slide replacement is a simple procedure that requires no tools or alignment and is completed in a few seconds. With options for coaxial viewing, process monitoring and enhanced vision with image recognition for automated operation, the FLC-30 is designed to provide the best possible delivery of the fiber laser light to the cutting surface.

The LaserCube system is ideally suited to applications within the Aerospace, Medical and Automotive sectors where high precision cutting is required on materials, which are often exotic in nature.

TLM Laser will be happy to provide more information on LaserCube to sub-contractors seeking a compact and cost effective solution for laser cutting smaller parts, smaller production runs and prototype development.

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