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For all your laser cutting needs.

TFD Manufacturing specialises in Mild Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminium fabrication.

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Laser Cutting

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Laser cutting manufacturing process

TFD Manufacturing is expanding their current operations to include laser-cutting capabilities. Laser cutting is an inexpensive method of producing precision profile cut components in sheet or plate form. It is ideal where small runs or time constraints prohibit the use of press tools or in cases where punching or blanking would lead to distortion. Laser technology assures accuracy and speed, complex shapes with no distortion and a list of technical and cost benefits.

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Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) capacity expansion

Clients will approach TFD Manufacturing with an electronic drawing (CAD) of a component that needs to be manufactured. The draughtsman will also be able to create an electronic copy (CAD) from a paper copy if required. The drawing will be checked for errors by the CAD draughtsman. A nesting process will be completed by computer, where components placement on the cutting sheet is optimised to minimise material usage. The completed cutting programme is then downloaded to the Trumpf L3030 laser cutting machine. The present CAD capabilities of TFD Manufacturing will be expanded to include a newly appointed CAD draughtsman that will be responsible for the drawings prepared for the laser cutting machine and downloading of the cutting programmes.

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Material selection

Component manufacture will be completed with the laser cut machine from aluminium (up to 8 mm thickness), stainless steel (up to 16 mm thickness) and mild steel material (up to 20 mm thickness). Sheets of different thicknesses will be kept in stock. When an order is received for component manufacture, the correct sheet will be selected by the material handler employee and placed on the automatic loading table of the laser cut machine. This process can be completed while the machine is still busy with the cutting process on the previous sheet. A dedicated material handling employee will be appointed for this responsibility.

A Trumpf laser cutting machine was selected due to the Trumpf brand’s excellent history of producing machines with the following qualities:

  • Long life
  • Technically first-class machine construction
  • High productivity and high availability
  • Robust construction
  • Low maintenance costs
  • Intelligent machine concept
  • Short set-up times

The Trumatic L3050 flatbed laser cutting machine operates according to the 'flying optics' principle, whereby the sheet remains stationary and the laser beam is moved across the working area.

The selected machine has a maximum laser power of 5 kW, making it versatile to use a large number of different materials and thicknesses. The bed size is 3000 mm by 1500 mm.

It features some state-of-the-art innovation in laser cutting technology. High-speed cutting of small components in thin sheets is possible by using a 3.75" lens and nitrogen. Trumpf's Process Control System (PCS) regulates and monitors the piercing process, thereby yielding enormous time saving as well as improved part quality. Compressed air cutting is an option where part cost is critical. This is achieved by substituting compressed air for oxygen as the cutting gas, with a small reduction in cut quality. Advanced Process Control (APC) is yet another feature that Trumpf has pioneered: The height of the cutting nozzle is regulated capacitively, thereby guaranteeing process reliability during cutting and piercing – even on uneven material.

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Process description of the Trumpf L3050 laser cut machine

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Before the new cutting job starts, the machine operator will have a metal sheet loaded in the automatic pallet changer. The CAD draughtsman will have downloaded the electronic cutting program to the laser cutting machine controller.

On the operator panel, the operator will select the starting of the cutting sequence, whereby the metal sheet will be automatically loaded into the machine by the pallet changer.

The laser cut machine will generate a laser beam. The beam is reflected internally by means of a partial mirror, until it achieves sufficient energy to escape as a stream of monochromatic coherent light. Mirrors or fibre optics are typically used to direct the coherent light to a lens, which focuses the light at the work zone. In order to be able to start cutting from somewhere else than the edge, a pierce is done before every cut. Piercing usually involves a high-power pulsed laser beam which slowly makes a hole in the material.

Once it has completely penetrated the workpiece, the cutting process can start: the laser beam moves along the part contour, melting the material as it goes. Usually, a stream of gas blows the melted material downwards, out of the cut. The gap is barely wider than the focused laser beam itself.

A dedicated laser cutting machine operator will be appointed.

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