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Cirrus Laser, a subcontract supplier of sheet metal and plate processing services, recently installed the UK’s first TRUMPF TruLaser Cell 3000 five-axis laser welding and cutting system. Capable of both cutting and welding on the same platform, the TruLaser Cell 3000 is run alongside the company’s existing TruLaser 5030 fiber flatbed laser.

The same 3kW laser source is used to supply both machines and switching between the two could not be easier. There is no configuration or unplugging of leads — everything is software driven and can be activated at the push of a button.

The TruLaser Cell 3000 is said to combine the best features of its predecessors in terms of versatility, quality, productivity and dynamics in a single, highly practical solution. TRUMPF’s 2-in-1 fiber comprises one core inside another, which means one core is optimised for cutting and the other for welding. Therefore, there is no compromise to either process and the customer receives the best possible part in each case.

Mounted to the bottom of the Z-axis on the TruLaser Cell 3000 is a tilting process head that can rotate through an angle of ±135°. The head is synchronised with a rotary axis to give full 3D process capability. Furthermore, the rotary axis can be orientated horizontally or vertically to suit customer requirements.

Cirrus Laser has fitted a Vac-Magic vacuum chuck system to the TruLaser Cell 3000, which had a base plate water jet cut and then machined on the Dugard ECO1000 vertical machining centre (VMC) in-house. The VMC also has the same vacuum chuck fitted and will manufacture jigs for the TruLaser Cell 3000 for welding applications; typically one jig in use welding and one jig being unloaded/loaded for the next welding operation.

David Connaway, managing director at Cirrus Laser, said: ‘In the base of the TruLaser Cell 3000 there are accurately machined bars, and special pins supplied by TRUMPF are used to locate jigs, manufactured on the VMC, into these bars. Using our co-ordinate measuring machine we’ve measured parts from one side of a jig to the other and found a maximum discrepancy of 40 microns, which is excellent. It means the jigs are clearly very repeatable and we can put them straight on the machine.’
 
Among the forthcoming jobs planned for the TruLaser Cell 3000 is the welding of diamond core drills used for producing holes in concrete. Cirrus Laser has produced a quarter million of these drills in the past and the acquisition of the TruLaser Cell 3000 will introduce new efficiencies to the process.
 
Another benefit for Cirrus Laser concerns parts which are presently TIG welded off-site and subsequently require cleaning-up before painting. Establishing a laser welding resource in-house not only saves on subcontract costs, but produces welded assemblies that can go straight to painting with minimal or no clean-up.
 
‘The new machine adds value to components that were previously cut by Cirrus Laser but welded by third party suppliers,” said Connaway. ‘In the future we hope to attract many new customers — the machine is ideal for trimming flash from automotive and aerospace parts, as well as adding apertures to existing pressings or assemblies.’
 
The high performance of the TruLaser Cell 3000 is attributable to the sophisticated laser control system and its adjustable beam forming optics, which enable the focus position and diameter to be modified as easily as the shutter speed and aperture on a digital camera. The focus position is adapted automatically to the thickness of the material being processed. Furthermore, the focus diameter can be widened by up to four times the diameter of a fibre in the fibre optic cable. This reduces non-productive time significantly, especially during welding operations.

Key application benefits

  • Connaway said there is no doubt that the machine will be a strong business asset moving forward.
  • The TruLaser Cell 3000 has allowed Cirrus Laser to bring certain processes in-house that were previously taken care of by third parties.
  • TRUMPF has provided good support, he added. In fact, it is sending a TruLaser Cell 3000 applications expert over from Germany who will be able to provide even more advice on how to maximise the opportunities available.

TECHNOLOGY THAT KEEPS YOU AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION

Remaining profitable today is a challenge and staying competitive in the future requires solutions that can adapt to your every-changing business needs. The technology built into TRUMPF precision machinery gives fabricators the flexibility to increase the efficiency of their high-quality, close-tolerance part production – in small batches or high volume jobs.

TRUMPF ranks among the world's leading manufacturers of production technology and industrial lasers. Technical solutions for its customers have been the company's focus since 1923. In every technology group TRUMPF machines are designed to minimise unit costs and to provide reliability and a rapid return on investment.

All machines are designed to accept flexible and expandable automation. The choices range from simple productivity gains from features such as automatic laser nozzle exchange through to all the elements necessary for full lights out production.

In the field of CO2 and solid state production lasers the TRUMPF product spectrum is now unparalleled and its experience extends from OEM systems to small hand-manipulation processing stations through to large 5-axis machines. It has competence at any level of power from 2W to 20kW.

The production processes for which TRUMPF lasers are designed are numerous and include welding, cutting, drilling, tube processing, surface treatment, additive manufacturing and component marking.

TRUMPF punching is much more than simply making holes. The TruPunch range of machines provides complete part processing – including forming – and virtually eliminates the need for secondary processing. And in its TruMatic series these benefits are combined with laser cutting; the best of both worlds.

The TRUMPF TruBend press brakes use patented technology to ensure that the bending angle is precise, right from the start and can handle small, complex or single components cost efficiently. Completing the main technology groups are the TRUMPF TruTool range of power and pneumatic portable fabrication equipment.

Under the umbrella of TruServices TRUMPF provides a highly comprehensive range of business services to support its customers. This starts with finance – TRUMPF operates its own bank – and includes full software support both at machine and business level. A wide range of predictive maintenance and service packages are also available as is application and product specific training.

With TRUMPF nothing is left to chance. In every aspect of its business, customers can be assured of quality and exceptionally value for money.

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