Before we get into the two distinct technologies AMADA uses to control the laser beam’s shape, width, and action, we should look at why this is a good idea in the first place. The reasons are many, including:
While these are not the only reasons to manipulate the laser beam, they are some of the most important ones. AMADA now offers two ways to get these things done, plus adds capabilities on top.
Variable Beam Control
The first way to manipulate the beam came in the ENSIS fiber laser cutter with Variable Beam Control. In this process, the beam is widened and narrowed using a collimator. Today this technology can also be found in the new REGIUS fiber laser cutter model.
Variable Beam Control means that the system automatically adjusts the laser beam’s properties to process a wide range of material thicknesses. It can infinitely change the laser beam mode to efficiently process thin-to-thick materials without additional machine setup. The adjustments occur with no operator input; changes are made based on the cut conditions already selected on the REGIUS AMNC 3iEx control.
In this dynamic cutting environment, the beam’s configuration and width evolves as the system handles thicker stock. You can see from the figure below that the mode of the laser beam automatically changes throughout the entire range of the materials being processed.
To be worthwhile, technology must produce results. Variable Beam Control does; two examples of its value to real-life laser cutting are a one-second clean pierce time on 1” plate, and up to 66% reduction in processing time compared to conventional fiber lasers at the same wattage. Fabricators can save time and gain flexibility at once with Variable Beam Control.
Locus Beam Control
The other way AMADA engineers have managed to tame the laser beam is with Locus Beam Control, available on the VENTIS laser cutting system. Rather than use a collimator to widen the beam or change the beam’s configuration, Locus Beam Control keeps the laser at a tiny, accurate pinpoint and moves the beam from side to side (extremely quickly!) in different trajectories, keeping optimal beam quality the entire time.
Unlike the Variable Beam Control which will widen the beam to make a wider cut in, say, plate steel, Locus Beam Control will make that same width of cut by creating a pattern to follow (circular, angular, figure eight, really an infinite variety) which leaves a cut of the desired width most efficiently. A mirror in the system controls the movement of the beam.
Locus Beam Control’s Productivity Mode puts an emphasis on speed. An example of how this technology saves time and energy is in high-speed nitrogen cutting of 5/16” aluminum. A conventional system with a 6kW laser takes 39 seconds for a specific part. With a VENTIS 4kW laser and its Locus Beam Control, the same job takes 23 seconds, a significant time savings and a 33% reduction in power usage.
In Quality Control Mode, Locus Beam Control is used to make the cut smoother and reduce dross. In doing high-quality nitrogen cutting on 0.375” aluminum, surface finish is improved and dross is reduced significantly. The beam movement also allows the laser to taper the bottom of the part and create a smooth and high-quality edge. The cut quality of the 4kW VENTIS compares to conventional 6kW and 8kW fiber lasers.
Locus Beam Control can also be used for kerf control to make picking of thick parts much easier by increasing the kerf.
No matter how specific your needs are, AMADA has a beam control technology that will fit them.
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