Coherent Inc. has expanded upon its family of compact, flexible Laser Machining Centers with the launch of its MetaBEAM, designed for processing metals but capable of addressing non-metal processing as well. Specifically, the MetaBEAM delivers high precision (0.001" accuracy) processing of metals with compact, sealed CO2 lasers without any sacrifice in speed. With the unique sealed CO2 laser source, you also get the lowest operating cost ($2 — $3/hour).
Fiber lasers, with similar operating costs, are scheduled to be integrated into this tool in CY 2011. The MetaBEAM Laser Machining Center integrates the machine frame, CNC controller, laser, beam-delivery system, drive system and laser cutting head all into one highly compact structure with a standard table size of 4'x4' (1.25m x 1.25m) and optional 4'x8' (1.25m x 2.5m) size.
In addition, it offers a cutting table design which minimizes parts tip-up. Switching materials or thickness can be done quickly with the MetaBEAM's unique focal axis with a capacitive sensor that accurately maintains the standoff distance from the work piece. The cutting head is protected from any damage by a magnetic breakaway system. The "building block" concept of the MetaBEAM enables easy addition of automation, including true machine vision to the standard system, allowing it to adapt to the users changing environment.
Related Glossary Terms
Cone-shaped pins that support a workpiece by one or two ends during machining. The centers fit into holes drilled in the workpiece ends. Centers that turn with the workpiece are called “live” centers; those that do not are called “dead” centers.
- computer numerical control ( CNC)
computer numerical control ( CNC)
Microprocessor-based controller dedicated to a machine tool that permits the creation or modification of parts. Programmed numerical control activates the machine’s servos and spindle drives and controls the various machining operations. See DNC, direct numerical control; NC, numerical control.
- laser machining
Intensified, pulsed beams of light generated by lasers—typically carbon dioxide or neodium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG)—that drill, weld, engrave, mark, slit and caseharden. Usually under CNC, often at both high cutting rates (100 linear in./sec.) and high power (5kW or more). Lasers also are used in conjunction with in-process quality-control monitoring systems allowing measuring accuracies of 0.00001".
- machining center
CNC machine tool capable of drilling, reaming, tapping, milling and boring. Normally comes with an automatic toolchanger. See automatic toolchanger.