| 11:21 AM EST

On Mfg - June 2016


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Laser System for 3D Cutting


Laser cutting of hydroformed and other tubular parts can be performed quickly and accurately with the five-axis, fiber-laser line of machines from BLM Group. By using the laser to cut three-dimensional formed or shaped parts (and it can, of course, cut stamped or flat sheets, too), there is the ability to achieve the kind of results that might otherwise be difficult to attain with mechanical methods. The LT-FREE permits the cutting of several parts from single bent tube in a single setup, thereby minimizing any material handling requirements. Because the part doesn’t move during the cutting operation—as this is a five-axis machine, the laser moves around the part—there is outstanding accuracy. Also in the LT-FREE lineup are the HIGH FLEX, a universal machine that cuts bent and hydroformed tubes, flat and deep-drawn sheets, and welded assemblies; the PIECE VALUE, which has a rotary turntable and automatic load/unload; and the ENTRY LEVEL, with dual fixed tables.

The LT-FREE has up to a 5-kW laser so it can cut mild steel, copper, aluminum, brass, stainless and galvanized steel. Its table measures 59 x 39 inches and the tool axes are 116 inches X, 37 inches Y, and 29 inches Z.


Capable—and Slim—Robots


While robots and Weight Watchers are things not ordinarily thought about together, the concept of thinner, lighter robots is one that can provide benefits to users. According to Michael Ferrara, director of Epson Robots, “Our C4-Series robots have been in the market for a couple of years now and have been extremely well received for a wide variety of applications. One of the key factors for the C4-Series success has been the unique Epson SlimLine Design, which results in slimmer arms, less overall weight and a small footprint while providing high-performance motion with higher payload curves.” 

And that thinking has been deployed in the development of a new line of six-axis robots, the C8-Series, which includes the C8, the C8L and the C8XL.

Consider the C8L. It weighs 52 kg, which is said to be two to three times lighter than competitive products. The robot has a payload of up to 8 kg, and if it is handling a 3-kg payload, the cycle time is just 0.38 seconds. The horizontal reach to the mounting face is 981 mm; it is 901 mm to the wrist center.

All of the robots feature Epson’s QMEMS vibration-sensing technology that detects and adjusts for vibrations that can occur during part transfer; this permits fast accel/decel. And all of the robots use the company’s RC700-A controller, which combines the power of PC-based controls with the power of a real-time engine.

Laser Welding System for Plastics


Clear-to-clear plastic welding without any laser-absorbing additives can be performed with a new workcell developed by Dukane Corp. That’s because it uses a 2-micron laser that is more readily absorbed by clear polymers and facilitates controlled melting through optically clear parts. The beam delivery system integrates both a programmable multi-axis servo gantry and a scan head. The company’s proprietary LaserLinQ software not only controls the motion of the beam, but before welding commences, it allows users to break complex weld patterns into separate geometric segments with each segment having its own welding parameters if required. There is a Class I CDRH-certified enclosure with laser-safe glass viewing windows, although a CCTV camera integrated within the machine allows viewing on an HMI screen.