When choosing a laser system, some tips on avoiding \"neat stuff syndrome. Laser for metal processing. Gee whiz, high-tech. Special application. Wrong. \"We have always thought that laser is just a working tool,\" Terry Felley said . \". \"Because we have lasers, we have not made our customers interested in doing business with us. They are starting to be interested because we can cut, weld, drill or Mark materials that they normally can\'t use or we can spend more money -- More effective than their traditional way. \"Mr. Feeley is the president of HGG Laser Fare, a Laser work shop based in RI. Since 1980, in business, the laser fare has used both solidstate (Nd:YAG)and gas (C|O. sub. 2~)lasers with 3-, 4-, and 5- Shaft capability for cutting, welding, drilling and marking services for a wide range of customers. Mr. Feeley said that the laser equipment was purchased every year and he advocated a practical approach --- Avoid what he calls \"neat stuff syndrome\"- Select the laser machine. \"Now most suppliers are not very interested in technology and are more interested in providing real value, and I think that is a very healthy sign,\" he said . \". C | O Carl Nielsen, president of manufacturer Chinasub. 2 ~ In Landing, New Jersey ~ The laser agreed. \"Potential customers should be careful to see laser as a technology,\" he said . \". \"It should be regarded as a machine tool. They should use all the usual industry standards to assess their reliability and cost, rather than entering such a universal \"technology Tour\" for laser suppliers \". \"The main question is: will the system complete the work you have to do by purchasing it at the price you expect to pay? To figure this out, you need to understand the laser part of the system, as well as the machine tool system related to the laser, operating costs, and your expectations for the quality and throughput of the parts. When evaluating the laser itself, the important factors are power and beam quality. Both are potential sources of confusion. Since the laser operates in different ways, the discussion of power can be tricky. Continuous wave lasers provide uninterrupted power. The Pulse device provides short-time pulse power for the workpiece. Both modes have their own positions; For example, pulse operation is conducive to the injection of materials in drilling operations. Conrad \"Connie\" bainas, chief scientist of joint technology industrial lasers (UTIL) CT South Windsor explains that the peak power that a pulse laser can produce is many times higher than the average rated power, while a continuous wave device provides a constant power output. As an example of the difference, he will weld 1 \"thick steel with 3- Kilowatt pulse laser and 25-kW C|O. sub. 2 ~ Continuous wave device. \"You can bring a 3- KW pulse nd: 1 and demonstrate full penetration because in the pulse you will get 30- KW peak and 30- The peak of kilowatts will penetrate the steel of that thickness. But the welding speed is determined by the average power of the equipment. Using a pulse laser, the speed will be a fraction of the inch per minute. With a 25- \"KW continuous wave device, you may weld at 40 ipm,\" he said . \". Beam quality is \"The industry has been working for a while to address the issue of how to characterize, and I think we still have a long way to go in fully understanding all the relevant factors, \"The Division of Terry VanderWert Laserdyne, Lumonics, Eden Prairie, manganese. Now, however, the most important measure of beam quality in the United States is | M. sup. 2 ~, This is the ratio of the actual divergence angle of the laser beam compared to the ideal beam. Divergence means the degree of focus of the beam and is determined by factors including the wavelength of the light and the energy distribution within the beam. Technology may be changing the accepted thinking about the energy distribution within the beam, where normal (gaussian) Distribution is considered ideal. Mr. VanderWert said that the fiber-optic beam transmission for the YAG laser can provide an advantage beyond the configuration flexibility, providing a circular beam with good energy distribution. \"Because you are imaging the end of the circular output fiber, the effect of the output fiberof- The circular degree on the beam profile seems to be eliminated. \"We are considering using fiber optic transmission to provide a more perfect round beam,\" he said . \". Meanwhile, China is working with researchers at the University of Rutgers to develop a waveguide system for C | O. sub. 2 ~ Laser, what fiber does to the laser output. The wave duct system is made of hollow- Core Sapphire fiber as flexible as fiber optic cable. At present, the system can handle continuous power of 1300 watts, Nielsen said, the ultimate goal is to be able to withstand 3000 watts of fiber. He added that the system will be installed at the beta testing site by the end of the year. No matter how the beam is delivered, Mr Nilsen said, \"The customer does not have to know the technical details of the beam quality . \". But they should realize the importance of it. Mr. van der Vette agreed. \"Beam quality is important, but it is the most important thing for us as a machine tool designer. In most of our systems, we move the beam above the workpiece on some axes, and we have to understand well what the beam looks like in space, he said. According to Mr. Feeley, things have changed a lot since 1980 in the field of system integration, when Laser Fare made his own machine by buying lasers here, there is a positioning table and a controller in other places and integrates them into a metal processing system. \"There are now some integrators who have done decent work in assembling these parts,\" he said . \". \"Again, what potential users should look for is a solution to a specific manufacturing problem,\" suggested Mr VanderWert of Laserdyne . \". \"The factors that are important when choosing a laser system are in principle the same as those that may be used when choosing any machine tool. \"First of all, he said, look at programming. How are you going to program these parts? What form is part data? There are more and more enterprises using CAD systems, but there are many applications, such as car prototypes, where design data does not exist or changes faster than file updates. When it comes to the machine parts of the system, all factors applicable in evaluating traditional machine tools, including static and dynamic positioning accuracy, should be considered. Basic System configuration is also important. Although some more The shaft system is mixed, and there are basically two options when bypassing the workpiece: moving the laser or moving the workpiece. \"The design of moving beams and moving tables is a problem, especially for both \"The shaft is cut,\" said Mr van der Vette. \"With the design of the moving beam, you can position the constant quality. It is not affected by the quality of the workpiece, you can do well- Adjust the servo system for optimal performance. If you are moving the artifact, you can make a performance transaction \"From paper to wide plates, we need to deal with a range of parts sizes,\" said Mr van der Vette . \". Finally, try to evaluate the machine\'s capabilities based on your expectations of part quality and throughput. Quality requirements for important parts include dimensional and location tolerances; The existence of burrs, heat- Influence area and re-cast layer; And cleanliness ( Splash from cutting or welding). Mr. Nilsen of China said that potential users must consider all costs of operating the laser system during the expected life cycle of the laser system. \"The problem is cost --- It\'s not just the cost of money, but also the floor space and operating costs. The cost of capital may be the lowest cost because you have done that before. You can either afford it or you can\'t afford it. But the real hidden cost is what it takes to run the system in 10 years, \"he said. The main driving force of laser operating costs is the gas used. In fact, carbon dioxide lasers use a relatively small amount of C | O. sub. 2 ~ Mixed with helium and nitrogen. Both C|O. sub. 2 ~ And the YAG laser uses auxiliary gases such as nitrogen, oxygen and nitrogen in cutting and welding operations. Although the price of natural gas in the United States is relatively low at present, Nielsen believes that this situation may change quite quickly in the next few years. \"In the United States, gas consumption has to be a bigger problem. The more gas you use, the more electricity you consume somewhere in the United States to produce it. In Europe, the cost of industrial gas is about twice that of here. Laser purity gas is probably four times the price we pay. Therefore, any customer who buys lasers that require special gases, whether mixture or purity, may find in the next few years that they can no longer afford to operate the laser, he said. So, what is Mr Feeley\'s final proposal for future laser users? \"There is evidence in the pudding. \"We believe that the days of the brochure have basically passed for a long time,\" he said . \". Laser Products: emphasis on practicality in view of the current focus (No pun intended) In the \"steak\" of laser metal processing equipment, compared with the \"iron plate\" of technology, there is a series of laser products designed to increase productivity and reduce costs, and enhance the value of laser systems. Many metal processing lasers are still programmed by \"teaching\", which includes the operator manually following the marking line representing the features of the part. Laserdyne has TeachVision, vision Its largest multi-programming system Shaft laser machine. The patent- Pending system usage high Resolution camera for imaging lines, decorative lines, or other features to be laser -- Five or more shaft cuts. A hand- The handheld remote control provides complete operator control for program development or editing. LCD built in hand- Held control displays text, graphics, and camera images that define the lines to cut the features. The device includes a function called automatic normal, which automatically directs the laser head perpendicular to the surface of the part. This saves time and improves the accuracy and consistency of the cutting angle with respect to the surface. Also correct from Laserdyne -- Angle nozzles are available as an option on the company\'s 780 BeamDirectoraxis C|O. sub. 2 ~ Or YAG laser system. The right- Corner head provides convenient pipe id for contour cutting or trimming and allows deep Drilling of severely inclined holes and welding of hard holesto-reach areas. The system also features a 135 ° tilt motion that provides Part handling capability in areas above level. Rofin- Sinar Inc. , Plymouth, MI, is emphasizing beam quality and versatility with a RSY 150 P of 150- W_yag laser for welding, cutting, drilling and marking applications. Precise focusing and full pulse forming capabilities make versatility possible, which provides peak-value power and provides faster cutting, welding and drilling capabilities than conventional lasers in the same power range The compact system is equipped with a power unit, beam transmission, cabinet, microprocessor control and cooling system, and can be equipped with a fiber optic beam transmission system to increase the versatility of processing. Trumpf Inc. , Farmington, CT, has added precision to its Lasercat compact laser cutting center with cat\'s eye, a pre-measurement using beam monitoring and measurement- Punch and paper edges. Designed for mounting next to the laser cutting head of the machine, cat\'s eye focuses a beam of light on the pre- Stamping workpiece material. The focusing beam discovers and measures the distance between the hole and the edge of the plate, thus calculating the coordinates quickly and accurately. Trumpf says the probe is particularly useful for recalculating coordinates when retargeting the vehicle to accommodate large workpieces. In order to maximize the cutting speed of various materials, tuning 1-kW C|O. sub. 2 ~ The laser was developed by a Chinese company. The device uses a tuned oscillator to provide continuous rated power at four wavelengths between 9. 1 and 10. 6 | micro ~ Rice ~. Other wavelengths in this range are available at lower rated power, and adjustable lasers can also work in various pulse modes.