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The FiberCut laser processing head collimates and focuses a laser beam to provide a clean cut along metal surfaces.

Laser Mechanism Laser cutting head

Feb 1, 2017

The FiberCut laser cutting head by Laser Mechanism cuts metal like butter, accurate and fast. The proper gap between laser head and workpiece is controlled by maxon DC motors and planetary gearheads. An application story...

Advanced laser beam solutions are used in all aspects of industrial automotive applications, including cutting, welding, drilling, scribing, surface treatment, and other processes. In addition, these solutions can be used with every type of laser, such as CO2, Nd:YAG, and fibre lasers.

Laser Mechanisms (Novi, Michigan) is a regular innovator in this industry, producing components that enhance performance, increase safety and provide flexible capabilities, while maintaining ease of use, reasonable costs and greater overall effectiveness. One of the company’s recent innovations is the FiberCut™ series of laser cutting heads.

Providing clean cut

The FiberCut laser processing head collimates and focuses a laser beam to provide a clean cut along metal surfaces. This three-dimensional cutter is light weight to minimise the inertia seen by the supporting robotic arm. The FiberCut nozzle also senses the required tip standoff distance from the workpiece (using Laser Mechanisms’ patented sensing technology) and automatically maintains that distance, providing a high accuracy cut as the cutter moves around the 3-dimensional metal part.

Precision at high speeds

There are three FiberCut heads in the series—a straight head, a right angle head and a compact head. All three use a maxon RE-max 29 brushed DC-motor to the tip standoff function, and each system also uses a maxon produced GP22 (19:1) planetary gearhead. According to Gerry Hermann, Senior Electrical Engineer, Laser Mechanisms, “Speed is the most important feature we needed and high speed automation forces the need for accuracy at those speeds.”

The heads attached to most robot arms are used in the manufacturing lines of the automotive industry. The lasers are used to cut out large body panels for cars and trucks, as well as smaller support components, such as undercarriage mounts and structural components designed for overall strength and safety of the final automobile. To keep up with production lines, creating such components as undercarriage mounts needs to be efficient.

Furthermore, accuracy is a key for assembly purposes. The maxon RE-max 29 brushed motor offers high performance density for its size, which is the main reason laser mechanisms selected them. The additional benefits include durability and long life. Due to the company’s ironless core design, which results in low electrical erosion between the brushes and commutation segments, the motor lasts longer.

Application benefits

The speed of the FiberCut head can reach 200 mm per second even though the maximum travel of the head—in an up and down motion—is only 25 mm. How this works is that the lower part of the head moves up and down to maintain a constant standoff distance between the laser and the metal being cut. Springs are used to push the head out, while the motor is used to pick the head up. Some additional features of the FiberCut laser cutting head include an adjustable focus lens for focus-to-tip adjustment and a cam-operated drive system with axial crash protection. The heads work with all leading fibre-delivered laser systems up to 4
kW with wavelengths of 1064/1080 nm. All the wiring and assist
gas lines are internally plumbed to avoid snags and breaks.
Each head in the series includes a sealed beam path and a
design that is engineered for the factory floor environment
associated with automotive manufacturing, which is essential
for the 24/7 operations of the automotive industry. The main
enclosure is purged with a dry air source to keep the inside clean.
This is important so that debris doesn’t get into the optics or into
the motor chamber. Along those lines, the maxon motors used
in the device does not produce particles that could damage the
optics or cause a maladjustment to the tip standoff control.
Additional motor features include quiet operation. ☐
Courtesy: Maxon Precision Motor India

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