Will a robotic laser cutting system cut it? Find out what it can do before you decide
Although robotic laser cutting system have advanced over the years, you should know exactly what one can do before you decide if it’s right for you. To find out whether you should choose robotics to laser-cut your parts, you first must consider several factors. Let us start it with what it is in a system.
Robotic laser cutting system vendors must provide repeatable robots. To achieve high-quality cutting, the robot must be able to locate cut features in the parts to ±0.009 in. (0.25 mm) or better.
Your robotic laser cutting system should have the capability to streamline the process of creating and maintaining robotic programs. It should accept parametric data entry for the size of standard shapes it will produce, such as round holes, slots, and rectangles.
Once it performs production cutting, it also should be able to adjust the feature location and size without interrupting production. In addition, the system vendor should be able to create robot programs offline to reduce programming time and validate the application before building the system.
Your vendor also should be able to address all laser cutting issues, including fixture design, integration into an automated cell, and mechanisms to reposition parts.
Process control also is an issue. Controlling a robotic laser cutting system requires more than just turning the laser on and off. The vendor must be able to control cutting process parameters such as laser power, assist gas pressure, and cutting head height settings. Automated recovery from errors should be integrated into the control to maximize system uptime and prevent downtime.
Tips for Success
As an end user, you must begin with a hands-on approach. You should be involved from the beginning and have intimate knowledge of the overall system, especially the details of the parts to be produced. While the vendor is responsible for developing a system that meets your expectations, you will work with the system daily.
Process knowledge is important too. One person or a team should be identified as the process experts. The team doesn’t have to have process expertise before using the first system, but it should grow into the expert role with training and hands-on experience. The process expert should then maintain and fine-tune the system for optimal performance.
Like knowledge, training is critical when working with a robotic laser cutting system. Training should be integrated into the project from the beginning and should be done as early as is practical.
Hope all of them could help you choose the right machine.