Coherent has expanded its family of compact, flexible laser machining centres with the launch of its MetaBeam product, designed for processing metals but capable of addressing non-metal processing as well.
The MetaBeam delivers high precision (0.001-inch accuracy) processing of metals with compact, sealed CO2 lasers without any sacrifice in speed. The sealed CO2 laser source also offers low operating costs ($2-3 per hour). Fibre lasers, with similar operating costs, are scheduled to be integrated into this tool during 2011. The MetaBeam laser machining centre 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 1.25m x 1.25m (four foot by four foot) and optional 1.25m x 2.5m size (four foot by eight foot). In addition, it offers a cutting table design which minimises 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. Coherent states that its building block concept for the MetaBeam enables easy addition of automation, including true machine vision to the standard system, allowing it to adapt to the users changing environment.
Coherent’s portfolio of laser machining centres is intended to bring the benefits of laser machining to a wider range of users. Their attractive cost, high productivity, size, speed and precision characteristics make them an excellent choice for laser job shops, fabrication shops and diversified manufacturers for large and small production runs and prototyping of mixed materials in a wide range of applications. Typical examples include medical components, point of purchase displays, automotive and aerospace components as well as electrical enclosures, wood, metal and plastic cutting and engraving, furniture parts, architectural models and rapid prototyping.