Operating a laser or plasma machine comes with challenges. SigmaNEST offers solutions to those challenges, helping your machine to achieve optimization and allowing operators to get jobs completed quicker and safer. SigmaTEK’s Technical Support Supervisor, Christian Donegia, offered numerous tips in SigmaNEST’s latest webinar: Advanced Training for Laser and Plasma. Let’s look at how you can improve part quality, optimize machine motion and reduce pierces.
Part Quality: BHQ and Corner loops
BHQ works with the advanced built-in features of your machine. It works with multiple controllers and systems to improve tapering and dings on holes at lead-ins/outs. BHQ is a feature that is best suited for plasma machines and is not used for roundness correction, but rather reduces hole imperfections. Often, operators find themselves with a ½ inch hole, created for a ½ inch bolt, but the hole is too small, and the bolt won’t fit as desired. The thicker the material, the more likely the taper causes the hole to be smaller than it should be. Simply adding it your post, BHQ will automatically set-up your lead-ins correctly, saving you time and wasted material from wrong cuts. Additionally, corner loops, allow you to maintain sharpness in a corner while keeping the machine running at an optimal speed.
Motion Optimization: Laser Destruct, Part Avoidance, Curvy Rapids
Laser Destruct is a programming technique which makes systematic cuts to keep internal contours from tipping up and causing the laser head to crash. Laser Destruct will cut a large internal contour into smaller pieces that can easily fall through the slats of the machine bed. Otherwise, the cut parts could potentially impede the laser. If during rapid movement interference happens, the machine must be stopped, causing wasted time as well as damage to the part and potentially to the machine. Additionally, using this technique eliminates the need to tab internal contours, preventing additional processes and extra manual labor. Laser destruct also allows operators to set up specific parameters around different size contours and limit where parameters are applied. If you have smaller parts you know will fall through the machine slats, it’s not necessary to use laser destruct for those specific cuts.
Part avoidance is an advanced technique that creates an optimal head motion path, eliminating costly head raise time while avoiding previously cut toolpaths. Any motion from the laser that does not involve cutting is a wasted movement. Part avoidance allows the head to stay down over uncut material and minimizes the chance of crashing into tipped-up parts, saving time and preventing potential damage to the machine.
Curvy rapids is a new feature that optimizes the rapid path. Laser machines are becoming increasingly fast, but sharp angles and turns can cause the machine to slow down in addition to causing extra wear on the machine. With curvy rapids, the machine instead curves around to get to the next cut, without slowing down, keeping the machine moving at an optimal speed.
Pierce Reduction: iPierce
A laser cutting torch generates a sudden and forceful concentration of energy initiating the cutting sequence, referred to as a pierce. Each pierce point takes a toll on the torch, wears out your consumables and eats away at your man hours, because the thicker the material the longer it takes. iPierce reduces the number of pierces the machine makes by giving external pierces a place to use an edge start instead of a pierce and can be turned on by simply clicking a checkbox in the Auto NC.