Tube processing center

Sept. 4, 2013
Rofin releases StarCut Tube with automatic tube loader.

Starnberg, Germany - With the new automatic tube loader, suitable for dry and wet cutting, ROFIN's laser cutting system becomes a versatile tube processing center for automated series production.

Manufacturing of various, frequently miniaturized, products requires cutting or drilling of thin-walled tubes or profiles with micron-scale precision. The delicate tube material has to be machined without burrs or distortion and this is where laser systems like StarCut Tube offer inestimable advantages compared to chemical and mechanical machining procedures.

One laser cutting step replaces several adjacent machining steps
Manufacturing of parts for implants, instruments or endoscopes from round or oval tubes usually requires numerous different machining steps. Techniques like drilling, mill-ing or eroding are carried out as separate processes, slowing down overall manufacturing speed. At the same time, the risk of production waste increases with each additional step.

The 4-axes CNC laser processing system StarCut Tube allows to transform numerous mechanical machining steps into a single laser processing routine. With CNC-driven rotary-, x-, y- and z-axes and a solid granite machine set-up, even taper-free or offset cuts are as easy as ultra-precise processing of oval tubes or flat parts.

Streamlining the manufacturing process with a laser system also reduces the processing time of parts up to a length of 600 mm (to only a few minutes). Therefore, an automated material loading system has to provide constant tube supply for efficient series production. ROFIN developed a new tube loading module with a side-loading magazine for tubes of 3 to 30 mm diameter and up to 3 m length. A pivotable pilgrim step separation assures precise and gently handling of tubes with small diameters. Sophisticated grippers provide accurate and reliable tube feeding and the automated removal of residual material.

The automated tube loading module is available for wet cutting as well. The new wet cutting option dramatically reduces the additional efforts, which are characteristic for wet laser cutting processes. The entire water-cooling system has been integrated into the main housing. It was designed with a special focus on easy operation and maintenance. The water tank is easily accessible and removable for water change. A drawer allows to remove finished part without interrupting the cutting process.

The StarCut Tube can be powered with ROFIN's StarFemto FX, StarPico or StarFiber FC laser sources and achieves contour accuracies better than +/- 5 micron. The femtosecond laser source provides pulses lengths down to 300 fs and wavelengths of 1030 nm, 515 nm and 343 nm. Pulses shorter than 1 ps are an essential prerequisite for true, cold material processing and distortion-free cutting and drilling of polymers.

About the Author

Industrial Laser Solutions Editors

We edited the content of this article, which was contributed by outside sources, to fit our style and substance requirements. (Editors Note: Industrial Laser Solutions has folded as a brand and is now part of Laser Focus World, effective in 2022.)

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