From Einstein’s laser theory put forward to now, laser has experienced more than 100 years of evolution and development, is now known as “the fastest knife, the most accurate ruler, the brightest light”, comparable to nuclear energy, computer and semiconductor. Laser processing with high efficiency, high precision, not easy to be limited by materials, flexibility and other advantages, gradually replace the traditional processing manufacturing, especially the metal plate cutting field, occupied more than 70% of the whole laser processing industry.
Laser equipment first entered the sheet metal processing stage
Founded in 1946 by AMADA, it was the first equipment manufacturer to consider the use of lasers in sheet metal processing. As early as 1978, AMADA started the development of laser equipment in response to customers’ demand for a contactless processing method. And successfully developed the first laser processing machine for sheet metal processing: lc-644, and began to sell in 1981. At that time, the laser equipment could only cut carbon steel plate to 6t at the thickest, and its processing speed was only 1M per minute, which could not be compared with the modern laser machine, but at that time, it was an epoch-making product that shook the whole field of sheet metal processing.
Laser cutting after decades of development, from solid state laser, CO2 laser to fiber laser. The technology is increasingly mature, and the huge potential market in China also provides a broad space for the large-scale application of laser processing machine tools in the sheet metal industry. With the intensification of competition, the profit space of all stages of the sheet metal industry chain is compressed, the space for price reduction is decreasing, and the transformation of processing technology is inevitable. At the same time, China has gradually become an international manufacturing center. With the increase of foreign investment, the demand for metal processing is increasing, so the demand for sheet metal processing capacity is also increasing, which promotes the development and prosperity of laser cutting.
Traditional sheet metal process is: shear – impact – bending – welding process or flame plasma cutting – bending – welding process. In the face of multi-variety, small batch, customized, high quality, short delivery time orders, it shows obvious inadaptability. Laser cutting process as a “shear – punch” alternative process, with the characteristics of flexibility, flexibility and high, often used in the shape of special-shaped (or complex) workpiece and sample (single or minimal batch) manufacturing, gradually replaced part of the traditional sheet metal processing process.
Disadvantages of traditional sheet metal processing
Traditional sheet metal cutting equipment occupies a considerable market share in the market, although they also have their own unique advantages, but compared to laser cutting and other modern technology disadvantages are very obvious, greatly affecting the competitiveness of enterprises.
TRUMATIC is one of the earliest companies to produce punch and laser compound machine. In 1979, TRUMATIC 180 LASERPRESS, the first punch and laser compound machine, was produced, with the laser power of 500 ~ 750W. Then in the 1990s AMADA and murata both launched the first generation of laser punching machine. Jiangsu Jinfangyuan launched a CNC hydraulic press, CO2 laser cutting compound machine in 2002. Later, Jinan casting and forging institute also launched a PL31550 CNC punching machine, laser cutting compound machine, using CO2 laser. Due to the limited technical conditions and high cost of CO2 laser, the promotion and popularization of punching and cutting compound processing equipment are affected, resulting in the application of this compound machine has been very few.
With the development of technology, optical fiber laser generator has gradually replaced CO2 laser generator. CNC punching machine – optical fiber laser cutting composite processing technology overcomes all the shortcomings of the early punch and CO2 laser cutting composite processing equipment, compared with the original punching shear composite processing and multiple positioning single processing technology obvious advantages, has been quickly promoted and applied.
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Source: China machine tool network