Showtime in Chicago

Oct. 1, 2005
Bigger and better than ever, the combined Fabtech/AWS Welding Show celebrates the power of the laser

Bigger and better than ever, the combined Fabtech/AWS Welding Show celebrates the power of the laser

Laureen J. Belleville

Lasers continue to prove themselves as cost-efficient, high-productivity alternatives in the manufacturing environment. Costs of laser applications are decreasing, while the number of applications is increasing in areas ranging from cutting, marking, and welding to drilling, heat treating, and cladding.

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The first joint Fabtech International & AWS Welding Show is recognizing the expanding use of lasers in manufacturing as well as the perceived future growth of the technology. Scheduled for November 13-16 at McCormick Place in Chicago, the show offers an extensive assortment of metal forming, fabricating, tube and pipe, and welding technology. To help promote an increased awareness in lasers at the show, show sponsors have formed relationships with the Industrial Laser Group (ILG), the Laser Institute of America (LIA), and ILS magazine. These groups will work closely at the show to educate the industry on lasers and their capabilities.

Additionally a number of new show features and activities are scheduled to help attendees learn more about lasers and their practical applications. These include the laser education track, which includes sessions on laser cutting technology and laser processing, and the Laser Day in the Innovation Theater on November 14. The Laser Day kicks off with the Laser 101 Session, a white paper presentation by the ILG on the history, current and future aspects of the laser, and where it fits into the manufacturing environment. ILS Publisher/Editor-in-Chief David Belforte will be moderating this session. There will also be more specific presentations focused on laser applications, processes, and the expanding uses of laser in manufacturing.

More than 800 companies will be exhibiting this year and more than 90 of these will feature equipment and technology for lasers and laser related applications. These exhibitors will be identifiable with a specially designed laser icon (see above). This icon will appear at each exhibit booth displaying laser technology and in the official onsite show directory. ILS contacted exhibitors for new product information. Those who responded are detailed below. Be sure to visit ILS at Booth #16060.

Laser systems

Laser system suppliers are bringing some of the most advanced offerings in the industry. In Booth #14024 Amada America will showcase two systems. The FOL 3015NT three-axis linear drive, flying optic laser has simultaneous traverse speeds of 13,386 inches per minute with an acceleration of 5G. It incorporates a 4500W, RF-excited resonator. The EML K3510NT combines the company’s “electric motor” punching technology with a “hybrid drive” laser motion system to create a fast and efficient punch/laser processing machine.

The Byspeed 4020 laser cutting system with the 5200 ARC resonator will be among the offerings in Bystronic’s Booth #14072. For optimal piercing and cutting performance and cut quality the system offers consistent power output of 5200 watts. The company will also demonstrate Bysoft 6.6 software for synchronization of laser, press brake, and waterjet processes.

Finn-Power’s recently introduced Laser Brilliance flexible manufacturing cell will be in Booth #19048. This system combines a turret punch press with the Slab CO2 laser offering 2500 watts of power.

The folks in Mazak’s Booth #11024 will be busy demonstrating a number of products, including the 4000W and 2500W HyperGear laser cutting system, tube and pipe cutting on the 3D-rotary FG-150-V laser, and programming on the FG CAD/CAM software. They’ll also offer cutting demonstrations on the triple-mode SG-U44.

Visitors to the Mitsubishi Laser Booth #14094 will see demos on the 3015LVP-40 CFX. The machine’s 40CFX is the company’s most powerful resonator yet with X-Flow Technology. With 4000 watts, it can cut up to 1-in mild steel, ½-inch aluminum, and ¾-inch stainless steel. Also on display will be the VZ1 three-dimensional, multi-axis laser cutting machine.

Prima Laser Tools will show its Domino HS 1530 multi-axis, 2D/3D high-speed laser system in Booth #16013. The system, which provides a single, cost-effective solution for both 2D and 3D laser cutting, features a combined X-Y-Z axes speed of 5900 inches/minute. The laser head does two rotations: A axis 360 degrees continuous and B axis ±135 degrees.

In Booth #17030 Strippit/LVD will introduce the Axel 3015 S linear laser cutting system with 5kW laser source. A high-pressure (clean cut) cutting head is available for 5-, 7.5-, or 10-inch cutting lens. It’s equipped with a safety system that protects the head from collision with the workpiece.

Telesis presents the new 10W Sabre CO2 laser in Booth #16064. Intended for marking substrates like wood, glass, plexiglass, quartz, ceramics, and other organic materials, product features include fixed beam expansion and shutter assembly and a handheld pendant for remote operation. The Zenith 10- and 20W lasers will also be shown. These pulsed fiber-to-fiber units feature a small footprint, improved electrical efficiency, a front-mounting panel, and remote diagnostic port.

New from TRUMPF in Booth #14063 will be a 6000W CO2 laser resonator, the TLF 6000, for flat sheet laser cutting. Available on the high-speed TC L 3050, the 6000W resonator increases cutting speeds by up to 29 percent, which boosts quality and efficiency, according to the company. Also new at the show, the TC 3000 L unites the advantages of laser cutting and punching. This system combines a diffusion-cooled TCF 1 laser and TRUMPF hydraulic punching head technology.

Related products

A number of laser-related products are also worth taking note of at the show. For example, in Booth #24082 Precitec will show a processing head that features a slim design and compact structure. The cutting head is suitable for Nd:YAG applications up to 500 watts and will produce a focal point smaller than 10 microns. The company also will exhibit the Lens Crack Sensor for detecting damage to the lens occurring during the cutting process, and the Seam Geometry Monitor (SGM) for optical weld seam inspection using 3D and image processing. In the same booth, American Laser Enterprises will showcase the ALE Mini series process components, which are designed for industrial use on CO2 and Nd:YAG applications less than 500 watts, continuous. Components include process heads, manual Z-focus or motor drive, beam expanding collimators, beam benders, diode laser pointer, and camera-based monitoring.

See Laser Mechanisms’ Mitsubishi Cutting Head Upgrade (for Mitsubishi’s flatbed cutting machine) in Booth #17005. The head features the cartridge-style lens holder, which enables the user to easily remove lenses for inspection or cleaning and replace them without the need for realignment. Single and multiple focal length designs are available. The company’s magnetic crash protection allows for immediate head reset using no tools.

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In the optics area, II-VI will show a large variety of products in Booth #13105. These include biconic mirrors, deformable mirrors, reflective beam integrators, and the ring focus off-axis parabola.

Low-absorption, high-performance lenses will be on hand in Del Mar Tip’s Booth #14079. Redline-LS thin film technology applied to the company’s zinc selenide focusing lenses delivers low absorption anti-reflection coatings that lower total lens absorption to less than 0.15 percent. The coatings are designed to maximize CO2 laser performance for a wide variety of material processing applications.

Gas pressure and flow control products will be included in the Concoa display in Booth #5041. Showcasing gas devices for specific cutting and welding applications from the company’s product line, the display will feature custom systems that meet the purity, pressure, and flow requirements for gas delivery to CO2 industrial lasers for cutting and welding. Systems include the V A X A gas delivery system, a gas delivery system regulator, a microprocessor-controlled automatic switchover system, and a high-efficiency gas distribution manifold.

In Booth #16006 SigmaTEK will offer free demonstrations of the new version of SigmaNEST nesting CAD/CAM software. Some of the main features include “autodynamic” nesting and auto tooling. Safety clamp zones and repositioning are also included.

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