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Advantages and Classification of Tube Laser Cutting Machine

Introduction

With the maturity and rapid development of laser technology, it has begun to be widely used in various industries.

The laser cutting technology has also developed from sheet metal cutting to metal tube cutting.

The birth and application of the professional laser tube cutting machine have greatly improved the processing efficiency of the metal tubes.

This article mainly analyzes the advantages of professional tube laser cutting machine, the classification and characteristics of the mainstream professional laser tube cutting machine in the current market, and outlook the development trend of professional laser tube cutting machine.

Advantages of Professional Laser Tube Cutter

The cutting principle between laser cutting machine and plane laser cutting machine is not much different, as a special laser cutting machine, laser cutting machine is mainly used for the standard metal tube (round tube, rectangular tube, oval tube, etc.), profiles (channel steel, angle steel, etc.) and part of the shaped tube.

The advantages over traditional processing techniques are the following:

  • It has high cutting accuracy and the contour accuracy can reach ± 0.05mm.
  • The kerf is flat, with no burr, fine slit and less material loss.
  • It is non-contact processing and laser cutting of the heat-affected zone is very small, with almost no deformation.
  • It has high cutting efficiency, which can achieve mass production.
  • It has good flexibility, it can change or replace the product at any time with the use of the professional CNC system and suite of material programming software.

Thus, professional laser tube cutting machines can replace mechanical drilling, milling, sawing, punching or cleaning of burrs and other processes that require equipment and hard tools for processing different metal tubes.

It can realize cutting, chamfering, grooving or hole cutting, scoring and other possible size and shape features of complex tube structures, etc., which is widely used in sheet metal processing, kitchenware, lighting, automotive, medical equipment, hardware, fitness equipment industries.

Classification and characteristics of professional laser tube cutting machine:

With the rapid growth of metal tube production and consumption, laser tube cutting machine equipment is rapidly popularized.

There is a wide variety of laser tube cutting machines on the market at present, which can be roughly divided into two categories according to the axial feeding method of the tube.

Fixed material cutting type laser tube cutting machine

This kind of laser tube cutting machine only processes fixed length tube, which is mostly used for processing the contour of the tube surface with constant axis and changing cross-section, the two ends of the tube can not be processed.

Although the cut-to-length laser tube cutter has great limitations and low productivity, it occupies a large market share because of its special features.

Figure 1 shows the decorative pattern on the surface of a lamp stem and lampshade processed by a fixed material cutting laser tube cutter.

Lamp shank and lamp shade processed by a fixed material cutting laser tube cutter.

Fig.1 Lamp shank and lamp shade processed by a fixed material cutting laser tube cutter.

Working Principle

As shown in Fig. 2, the fixed material cutting laser tube cutter consists of two clamping chucks that hold the tube in place, the chuck makes a synchronized rotational motion around the tube axis and the laser head makes axial and radial feeds of the tube for cutting.

Tube laser cutting machine working principle diagram

Figure 2 Working principle diagram

Feed cutting laser tube cutter

This type of laser tube cutting machine is mainly used for the processing of coaxial tube of the same cross-section, which not only can process various contour shapes on the surface of the tube, but also can cut according to the designed length of the tube part within the designed stroke of the machine.

Compared to the fixed material cutting laser tube cutter, it is more flexible, scalable and higher cutting efficiency, which currently occupies the majority market share of the professional laser tube cutter.

As shown in Figure 3, the feed cutting laser tube cutter can be used to batch process various profiles of standard metal tubes such as square and round tubes, and cut off.

Square and round tubes processed by a feed cutting laser tube cutter.

Fig.3 Square and round tubes processed by a feed cutting laser tube cutter.

Working Principle

As shown in Figure 4, the tube is held by a clamping chuck, the support chuck holds the tube radially.

All the chucks around the tube axis synchronous rotary movement, clamping chuck fixed tube to do axial feed, the laser head to do the tube radial feed and cutting.

Currently, the feed cutting laser tube cutter is mainly based on two chucks on the market, which is cost-effective, but its shortcomings are also obvious.

Feed cutting laser tube cutter working principle diagram

Fig.4 Working principle diagram

1) Poor stability of cutting accuracy

For the tube with too long parts or poor rigidity, with gravity deformation plus the action of centrifugal force of chuck rotation, even if the increase of servo roller or profiling wheel support, it is difficult to ensure the stability of cutting accuracy.

2) Tail material, even if the laser head can cross the support chuck cutting, but the chuck clamping end is still unable to cut, resulting in tube waste.

Structure diagram of multi-chuck laser tube cutting machine

Fig.5 Structure diagram of multi-chuck laser tube cutting machine

To address these shortcomings, some equipment manufacturers use two chuck feed cutting laser tube cutting machines as the basis, expand the design of multi-chuck laser tube cutting machine, as shown in Figure 5.

Among them,

1) It increases a set of support chuck and can ensure that a certain length of tube almost free from gravity deformation and chuck rotation centrifugal force, which can effectively ensure the stability of cutting accuracy and the parts cutting length is not limited in the machine stroke range.

2) It increases a set of clamping chucks for catching material, when the feeding chuck is in the limit position, the tube is clamped by the catching chuck to do axial feeding movement, which can ensure most of the tube zero-tail material cutting.

3) Although the above design can completely solve the shortcomings of the two chuck feed cutting type laser tube cutter, the increased cost of chucks, the number of servo axes and CNC system.

It also explains why the current multi-chuck feeding and cutting type laser tube cutter has not become a mainstream trend.

Trends in professional laser tube cutters

High precision and high efficiency

The future demand for tubes is growing, processing requirements will be higher and higher, and improving processing accuracy and production efficiency is a necessary factor in the rapid development of professional laser tube cutting machine.

Modularization

User requirements change over time, and the modular design allows the addition or replacement of functional components to meet user requirements and maximize the benefits for both parties.

Automation

There are already many users equipped with automatic loading and unloading unit, the development of automation can effectively liberate the labor force, alleviating the problem of labor shortage in enterprises.

Intelligence

With the popularization of the concept of “Industry 4.0” and the maturity of the development of 5G technology, the future of the laser tube cutting machine will certainly achieve complete automation.

That is, it integrates information collection, order placing, feeding, loading, tube identification, length measurement, automatic call program cutting, unloading, palletizing and shipping, which finally realizes intelligence.

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