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Salvagnini has revealed how Kent Metal Developments (KMD) has replaced two eight-year-old CO2 lasers with the L1Xe fibre laser profiling centre, cutting energy consumption without loss of capacity.

KMD is a supplier to the specialist automotive market and works on projects including disability vehicles and roadsweepers.

In a strategy designed to enable further growth, the company recently decided to replace its two CO2 laser cutters.

Phil Chapman, sales director at KMD, said: ‘Unfortunately, at our premises we don’t have much available power.

‘For this reason we could not upgrade to more powerful CO2 lasers as they tend to draw a lot of electricity.

‘However, every time we saw a new laser we realised we were missing out and something had to be done,’ he added.

KMD became aware of Salvagnini’s L1Xe fibre laser profiling centre.

Energy consumption and running costs are traditionally high on CO2 lasers, however, the fibre laser source on the L1Xe cuts hourly running costs significantly as a result of factors that include: up to 70 per cent reduction in energy consumption thanks to high source efficiency; cost per part reduced by more than 50 per cent; lower impact on consumables due to the absence of optical path, mirrors and bellows; reduced maintenance costs; the elimination of laser gas; and the eradication of standby currents and source warm-up times.

As well as being an ecologically responsible solution, the customer found that the L1Xe is exceptionally fast.

Installed in November 2010, the Salvagnini L1Xe has been set to work processing mild steel up to 15mm thick and stainless steel up to 8mm.

Small repeat batch sizes of 10-40 are the most common at KMD, so quick changeover times are essential.

The L1Xe is said to excel here with its simple configuration.

There are no routine service requirements for the laser source and power consumption is up to 75 per cent less than comparable CO2 models.

Chapman said: ‘Using less power has enabled our business to replace two CO2 machines with a single-fibre laser, but without any compromise to capacity.

‘The use of the shuttle table in tandem with high cutting speeds has meant we are able to meet all our regular commitments.

‘For example, one previous job made from 4mm-thick stick steel used to take four hours, but on the L1Xe the same job takes 1.5 hours.’

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