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Classification and advantages of laser tube cutting machine

laser tube cutting

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Introduction

Various industries have widely used laser technology with the rapid development of laser technology.

Laser cutting technology has also evolved from the original flatbed cutting to today’s tube cutting.

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

This article will explain the advantages of the professional tube and pipe laser cutting machines and the classification and characteristics of the mainstream professional laser tube and pipe cutting machines on the market today, and look forward to the development trend of professional laser tubes and pipe cutting machines.

Advantages of Professional Laser Tube Cutting Machine

The cutting principle of laser tube cutting machines and flat laser tube cutting machines is not much different. A laser tube cutting machine is used for standard metal tubes (round tubes, rectangular tubes, elliptical tubes, etc.), profiles (channel steel, angle steel, etc.), and some shaped tubes.

Compared to traditional processing techniques, it has the following advantages:

  • With high cutting accuracy, the accuracy of the cut contour can reach ±0.05mm.
  • The cut is flat, burr-free, with a fine cut and low material loss.
  • It is non-contact processing, and the heat-affected zone of laser cutting is very small, with almost no deformation.
  • It has high cutting efficiency and can realize mass production.
  • It has good flexibility and can change or replace products by using a professional CNC system and a complete set of material programming software.

Thus, a professional laser tube cutter can replace mechanical drilling, milling, sawing, punching, or burr cleaning, which requires equipment and hard tools to process different metal tubes.

It can realize complex tube structure cutting, chamfering, slotting or hole cutting, scribing, and other possible size and shape features. A laser pipe cutting machine is very widely used. It is used in sheet metal processing, kitchenware, lighting, automotive, medical equipment, hardware, fitness equipment, and other industries.

Classification and Characteristics of Laser Tube Cutting Machine

Laser tube cutting machines can be broadly divided into two categories according to the axial feeding method of the tube.

Fixed material cutting type tube laser cutter

This type of laser tube cutting machine only processes the fixed length of the tube, mostly used for processing axis constant, cross-sectional changes in the profile of the tube surface, the ends of the tube can not be processed.

Although fixed-length laser tube cutters have great limitations and low productivity, they occupy a large market share due to their special features.

Figure 1 shows the decorative patterns on the surface of lamp poles and lampshades processed by fixed material cutting laser tube cutting machine.

Lamp stem and lampshade processed by fixed material cutting laser tube cutting machine
Figure 1 Lamp stem and lampshade processed by fixed material cutting laser tube cutting machine.

Working Principle

As shown in Figure 2, the fixed material cutting laser tube cutter consists of two clamping chucks, which hold the tube in place. The chucks make synchronous rotational movements around the tube axis, and the laser head makes axial. The radial feed cuts to the tube.

Schematic diagram of working principle
Figure 2 Schematic diagram of working principle

Infeed cutting laser tube cutting machine

This type of tube laser cutting machine is mainly used to process the same section of the coaxial tube. It can process various contour shapes of the tube surface, but it can also be cut according to the design length of the tube part within the design stroke of the machine.

Compared with laser tube cutters for fixed material cutting, it has higher flexibility, scalability, and cutting efficiency and currently occupies most of the market share of professional laser tube cutters.

As shown in Figure 3, the feed-cut laser tube cutter can batch process standard metal tubes of various profiles such as square and round tubes and cut them.

Square and round tubes processed by incoming laser tube cutting machine
Figure 3 Square and round tubes processed by incoming laser tube cutting machine.

Working principle

As shown in Figure 4, the tube is clamped by the clamping chuck, and the supporting chuck clamps the tube in the radial direction.

All chucks rotate around the tube axis in synchronous motion, the clamping chuck holds the tube for axial feeding, and the laser head feeds and cuts the tube in the radial direction.

At present, the feed cutting of laser tube cutting machine in the market mainly relies on two chucks, which is cost-effective, but its disadvantages are also obvious.

Schematic diagram of working principle 1
Figure 4 Schematic diagram of working principle

1) Poor stability of cutting accuracy

For parts too long or less rigid pipe, under the action of gravitational deformation plus chuck rotation centrifugal force, it is difficult to ensure the stability of cutting accuracy even if the support of servo roller or profiling wheel is added.

(2) Even though the laser head can cut through the supporting chucks, the chuck clamping end of the tail material cannot be cut, resulting in the waste pipe.

Schematic diagram of the structure of multi chuck laser pipe cutting machine
Figure 5 Schematic diagram of the structure of multi-chuck laser pipe cutting machine

In response to these shortcomings, some equipment manufacturers have extended the design of a multi-chuck laser tube cutter based on the laser tube cutter with double-chuck feed cutting, as shown in Figure 5.

Among them.

  • It adds a set of supporting chucks, ensuring that the tube of a certain length is almost free from gravitational deformation and centrifugal force of chuck rotation. This effectively ensures cutting accuracy and stability, and the machine’s travel range does not restrict the cutting length of the part.
  • The clamping chuck clamps the tube to execute axial feeding movement while the feeding chuck is in the limit position, ensuring zero tail material cutting for most tubes.
  • While the above design eliminates the flaws of the double chuck feed cutting type laser pipe cutting machine, it does so at the expense of the chuck, the number of servo axes, and the CNC system.

This also explains why the multi-chuck feed cutting type laser tube cutting machine has not yet become a mainstream trend.

The Development Trend of Professional Tube Laser Cutting Machine

High precision and high efficiency

The future demand for tubes is getting bigger and bigger, and the processing requirements will be higher and higher. It is vital to improving processing accuracy and production efficiency for the rapid development of a professional laser tube cutting machine.

Modularity

The needs of users evolve with time.

Modular design enables the addition or replacement of functional components to fulfill user needs and maximize both parties’ benefits.

Automation

Many users already have automatic loading and unloading equipment installed.

Automation’s advancement can effectively liberate workers and solve the problem of labor scarcity in businesses.

Intelligent

With the widespread adoption of the “Industry 4.0” idea and the maturation of 5G technology, the future laser pipe cutting machine will almost probably achieve complete automation.

It will integrate information collection, order placing, feeding, loading, tube identification, length measurement, automatic call program cutting, unloading, palletizing, shipping, and finally realize intelligence.

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