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McKinnon Laser, a profiling shop, has been using an LVD Orion Plus 3015 with 2.5kW laser power source and automatic load/unload system.

From its 3,000ft2 (280m2) manufacturing facility outside of Belfast, McKinnon Laser provides laser cutting services to customers in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the UK.

McKinnon said: ‘We did our research and, from past work experience, we knew there was a market for smaller jobs – customers that would need 10, 20 and 30 hours of laser processing work a month.’ Having identified its target audience, McKinnon Laser set out to find the machine to match its processing requirements and budget.

The LVD Orion provided the right cost-versus-benefit ratio.

The company completed a formal discounted cash flow forecast to calculate return on investment prior to purchase.

McKinnon added: ‘We wanted an easy-to-use, reliable machine with a small footprint and with a level of automation that would help us make the best use of our resources.’ Automation was important for the company as it wanted to free its operators to perform other tasks, thus optimising labour.

McKinnon Laser operates two shifts and, when needed, processes parts 24 hours a day.

The automatic load/unload system enables the fast, efficient processing of materials up to 3,000mm x 1,500mm x 12mm.

The space-saving system is operated by a PC-based touch-screen control.

Even with the automated load/unload unit, the Orion Plus 3015 is compact with a length-to-width dimension of 8,665mm x 3,900mm.

The machine is equipped with a simple beam delivery system comprising three mirrors.

This construction facilitates alignment and ensures a stable beam path.

An NC Focus feature provides programmable adjustment of the focal position, eliminating the need for operator intervention to adjust the focal position, further optimising labour resources for McKinnon.

The machine’s process control automatically senses piercing times and detects and controls plasma when cutting stainless steel and aluminium.

This feature maximises processing time for McKinnon and minimises part damage due to loss of cut.

A highly rigid, high-precision rack-and-pinion drive delivers precise motion and position control.

This rigid design permits the machine to maintain high processing speeds without any loss of cut quality.

As a result, McKinnon can process flat sheets up to 3m x 1.5m and routinely handles mild steel up to 16mm, stainless steel up to 10mm and aluminium up to 6mm.

In addition to metal, the company cuts plastics, paper and wood up to 30mm.

The integrated Fanuc GE laser and CNC touch-screen control provides McKinnon with full control over the cutting process.

The integration of the radio-frequency excited fast axial flow CO2 laser, CNC control, system drives and motors ensures high reliability and low operating and maintenance costs.

McKinnon said: ‘It’s fast and dependable and the autoload system was well designed to suit the machine.’ Thanks to the laser system, lead time is always less than five days.

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