Multi-axis system for the precision cutting of thin sheet metal parts
In collaboration with NUM Taiwan, the Taiwanese laser machine manufacturer Legend Laser, Inc., has developed a unique multi-axis system for the precision cutting of thin sheet metal parts. Based on NUM’s latest-generation Flexium+ CNC platform, the system combines high dynamic performance linear motors with a pulsed fibre laser, and is expressly designed for 24/7 operation in a standard production environment.
Founded in 1995, Legend Laser specialises in the design and manufacture of a diverse range of laser marking, micro-machining and micro-tube processing systems. Initially concentrating on the domestic and Chinese markets, the company nowadays serves a worldwide customer base. Its headquarters are located in Xinzhuang District, New Taipei City, in northern Taiwan.
Legend Laser’s new SRC-610 precision sheet metal cutter is a 3-axis system with a working area of 1000 x 600 mm and an above-worktable clearance height of 150 mm. It is mounted on a high inertia platform, comprising a large mass solid granite base with a rigid metal frame. To ensure smooth, burr-free cutting and to prevent any heat-induced deformation of thin metal workpieces, the power output of the pulsed fibre laser is fully synchronised to the cutting operation. The laser has a peak output power of 1.5 kW and can cut sheet metal with a thickness of between 20 µm (0.02 mm) and 1000 µm (1 mm), at speeds ranging from a few millimetres per second to a hundred millimetres per second.
In addition to sheet metal, the SRC-610 is also suitable for cutting and drilling ceramic and sapphire plate. Thanks to the system’s high dynamic performance and continuously variable laser power level, it is capable of exceptional cutting precision – to within just plus/minus 10 microns (10 µm or 0.01 mm).
The X and Y axes of the system – which control the lateral movement of the sheet metal workpiece and the laser cutting head respectively – are capable of very fast acceleration/deceleration and ultra-precise positioning. Both axes employ linear induction motors, driven by NUM’s NUMDrive X servo amplifiers.
The Z axis, which controls the vertical height of the laser cutting head and thus the gap between it and the workpiece, uses a NUM BHX series AC brushless servomotor and a NUMDrive X servo amplifier. The gap between laser cutting head and workpiece is controlled very accurately during the entire cutting process, through use of a unique ‘Dynamic Operator’ (DO) function in NUM’s Flexium software. This employs special fast calculation and communication facilities which enable event-driven machine cycles to be integrated into the real-time CNC kernel.
According to Sherman Kuo, President of Legend Laser, “NUM is now our CNC provider of choice. Its open architecture CNC platforms simplify system integration, while its willingness to actively collaborate in joint machine development projects such as this helps to shorten our time to market significantly”.
Locally placed technical support is also an important factor, as Adrian Kiener, CSO Asia and Managing Director of NUM Taiwan, points out: “Legend Laser’s HQ is only about 150 km from NUM’s offices in Taichung City. By offering direct access to the CNC experts and development facilities we have here, as well as in Switzerland and other strategic locations around the world, we can provide a very fast and supportive service to companies in Taiwan and other countries in Asia”.
NUM is supplying Legend Laser with a complete CNC solution for its SRC-610 precision sheet metal laser cutting system. In addition to the Flexium+ 8 CNC system and NUMDrive X servo amplifiers, this includes a custom HMI (human-machine interface) that is dedicated to laser cutting, the PLC software, specially developed part program macros and the system commissioning.