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High-performance laser machining and cutting system has a small footprint

Technical demands from the electronic, medical, aerospace and other industries are pushing the boundaries of micro-machining to smaller and more precise tolerances.

The application of laser technology is pacing the demands from industry for smaller geometries and increasingly tighter specifications.

At this year’s Austech exhibition in Sydney, Alfex CNC Australia will demonstrate how extremely accurate 3D engraving and micromachining processes using the latest laser technology from ACSYS Lasertechnik replaces – and in many applications even excludes – conventional CNC machining techniques.

Since there is no physical contact between the laser and the workpiece, the advantages are: no tool wear, no tool changes and no tool breaking.

3D laser engraving allows the three-dimensional surface ablation on a range of materials with high quality.

Alfex CNC Australia will have live demonstrations on its stand over the four days of the show, where an ACSYS Piranha fibre laser system removes material by ablation, thus creating virtually any surface texture that can be digitised. (Ablation can be described as a method to melt and vaporise a workpiece material with high heat.)

The process can be used to engrave, mark, label or render a microstructure on a surface in 3D with high-speed and precision. The high level of precisely charged laser energy makes it possible to engrave previously hardened materials while providing a working beam diameter down to 20μm.

For high-precision marks such as punch marks, fine engraving or 3D laser micro-engraving, ACSYS offers high-resolution camera systems, precision packages and multiple axes systems with up to seven movable linear and rotary axes, consisting of linear moving columns or cross tables and rotary and swivelling dividing heads.

With rotary tables, tag feeders, foil handling or special attachments, the Piranha laser system offers optimum adjustment possibilities for any task.

“From file creation to output on the laser, all details are perfectly co-ordinated to ensure an intuitive workflow,” says Alfex CNC Director George Buhagiar.

“The unique camera set-up module LAS – Live Adjust System – reduces set-up times to a minimum and makes working with the laser highly efficient. The high resolution camera provides a live virtual preview of the workpiece being processed on the computer monitor. ACSYS‘ own AC LASER Software allows you to design texts, 2D and 3D data directly on the workpiece image and to define positions, contours and frostings easily and precisely.”

Moreover, the Optical Parts Recognition system – OPR – allows for fully automatic processing of non-palletised loose parts, where the system will automatically locate each part and then correctly position or even rotate the file to mark in exactly the right place every time no matter what the orientation of the part on the pallet.

“Lasers open up entirely new possibilities in terms of design,” adds Jordan Buhagiar, Sales Team Leader – Laser Division.

“In addition to the precise surface frosting, unlimited other textures with interesting visual effects can be applied. A great advantage is the absolute reproducibility, since any frosting layout can be saved as a file and then automatically transferred to other dies at any time. Overall process time is greatly reduced and constant quality is guaranteed.”

Alfex will also showcase the compact MetaBeam 400W laser cutting system from laser manufacturer Coherent.

CO2 lasers have been used in metal cutting and welding for decades, but the physical size and high operating costs associated with traditional, flowing gas CO2 laser cutting systems have limited their use to larger installations.

The MetaBeam series is designed for precise, laser cutting of a large variety of materials, including stainless steel up to 3mm thick, thanks to its Coherent Diamond series sealed CO2 laser, which allow a more compact, reliable and cost-effective system.

The MetaBeam takes up a fraction of the floor space compared with a a larger machine. It has a sealed, maintenance-free laser source so there are no regular overhauls required on the laser itself and no laser gas required either.

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