This article provides an overview of digital flatbed and laser cutting systems and highlights what’s available on the market.
LasX Industries (www.lasx.com) bills its LaserSharp Workstation XY as a steered-beam laser with an accurate XY positioning system. It accommodate materials up to 47 x 47 in. (1200 x 1200 mm) and features a fume-extraction system that follows the processing area to better remove fumes. The Workstation XY offers roll-fed, sheet-fed, and robotic materials-handling options. Flat vacuum plate and grated honeycomb work supports are available. Laser selections include a CO2, fiber, or UV wavelengths in 10- to 1000-W power output. LasX says steered-beam accuracy is ±0.005 in. (±0.13 mm). Processing speeds with the steered beam is up to 200 in./sec. (5080 mm/sec). A fixed beam can be added to process materials up to 0.375 in. (9.5 mm) thick.
Océ (www.oce.com) designed its ProCut system to optimize trimming tasks for rigid substrates up to 2 in. (50 mm) thick, including foam board, plastics, and acrylic, as well as flexible media in rolls or sheets, including banner stock, self-adhesive vinyl, and fabric. It can also be used for contour cutting, through-cutting, kiss-cutting, and creasing. ProCut Prepress software is used for preparation of registration marks, barcodes, and tool alignments. ProCut Nesting nests images based on their shape, while GTK CutPro drives the cutter. ProCut systems are available in sizes from 51 x 63 in. to 124 x 128 in. (1295 x 1600 mm to 3150 x 3251 mm).
Spartanics (www.spartanics.com) says its Finecut L-210 and L-350 are high-speed laser cutting machines with single scan-head design and cutting areas of 7.8 x 7.8 in. or 13.8 x 13.8 in. (200 x 200 mm or 350 x 350 mm), an optimized format for labels. The sealed CO2 lasers have a wavelength of 1.6 µm, 400 W of power and can accommodate web speeds up to 262.5 ft/min (80 m/min). The Spartanics L210 and L350 system include UV-coating stations, lamination, slitting, and sheeting options. These lasers are designed for polyester, polycarbonate, polypropylene, metalized, and paper substrates.
Universal Laser Systems’ (www.ulsinc.com) VLS Platform Series VLS 6.60 C02 laser features a work surface area of 32 x 18 in. (813 x 475 mm) and can accommodate materials up to 37 x 23 x 9 in. (940 x 584 x 229 mm). Rotary capacity is 8 in. (203 mm) in diameter. The floor-standing unit’s laser options include 10, 25, 30, 40, and 50 W. VLS lasers are equipped with Universal’s Rapid Reconfiguration technology, designed to allow laser sources to be installed, removed, and exchanged in seconds and without the use of tools. Universal says the multiprocess laser can cut, engrave, and mark in one step.
Zünd (www.zund.com) says that its G3 can be used in manual, semi-automated, and fully automated production with automated loading and unloading. The company offers the system in a range of sizes and with a variety of modules, tools, and material-handling systems. Formats range from 52 x 31 in. to 126 x 128 in. (1330 x 800 mm to 3210 x 3200 mm). According to Zünd, module and tool changes are quick and easy with minimal setup time. The ICC camera, laser pointer, and marking module provide additional functionality. Upgrades can help the user adjust to increased production needs. Materials are secured via vacuum turbines or vacuum pumps. Zünd says a direct-drive system provides accuracy and processing speeds and is maintenance-free. The workstation provides operators with a monitor, keyboard, and tool storage.
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