Quick Laser and Beckhoff Continue Strategic Cooperation to Enhance Laser Cutting Machine Performance
Quick Laser continues to work alongside Beckhoff to optimize high-end laser cutting machines’ performance by using TwinCAT software as an open computerized numerical control system.
Quick Laser specializes in the provision of advanced laser application equipment and solutions. This includes Quick Laser’s high-performance laser cutting machines.
Not only does the company provide technologies and solutions, but it also invests in laser equipment R&D. In 2016, Quick Laser and PC-based control technology specialist, Beckhoff, began strategic cooperation to further optimize laser cutting machines’ performance.
The Importance of an Open Control and CNC System
High-performance laser cutting machines can be more complex when concerning machine processes than those machines that are more simple in design and require less energy to operate. This means high-performance machines can have a slower start, pre-lasering, and progressive perforation. In terms of improving particular aspects of process efficiency, this is why Quick Laser believes that an open control and computerized numerical control (CNC) system is important to integrate.
Quick Laser’s Laser Cutter. Image used courtesy of Beckhoff.
Beckhoff explained the TwinCAT (The Windows Control and Automation Technology) Component Object Model (TcCOM) concept defines the characteristics and behavior of the modules typically consolidated within a driver. The model-based upon the COM from Microsoft Windows “describes how independently developed and compiled software components can co-operate with one another.”
The TcCOM provides the TwinCAT CNC with an open interface to the numerical control system. The TwinCAT software system can make any PC-based system a real-time control with multiple PLCs, NC, CNC, and/or robotics runtime systems.
High-End Laser Cutting Optimization
Powerful servo drive technology is an important factor for enhancing the performance of laser cutting machines. AX5000 Servo Drives from Beckhoff utilize functions including the velocity observer and TwinCAT CNC acceleration pre-control. This brings the consequential of high-speed cutting to a small value of +/-5 μm.
Beckhoff’s AX5000 Servo Drive in the laser cutting machine control cabinet. Image used courtesy of Beckhoff.
Additionally, utilizing TwinCAT CNC offers a spline curve function. This helps by optimizing the path, which in turn serves to improve the process of cutting.
TwinCAT and EtherCAT Capabilities
Another benefit of TwinCAT CNC for laser cutting machines is the ability to reduce laser beam intensity. TwinCAT CNC can prevent exessive energy build-up of laser beams by employing a corner and edge function to do exactly this. The outcome ensures unwanted burning from the laser when cutting something such as an acute angle.
The TwinCAT offers is the M function, which provides an extended distance output. TwinCAT CNC’s Cutting Plus package’s lift functionality can be utilized to further optimize control of the cutting process. This serves to prevent collision of the cutting head with any projecting parts in a scenario where a workpiece may fall off, or the edge becomes distorted when cutting sheet material.
The EL6692 Ethernet for CAT (EtherCAT) bridge terminal is another component that can enhance laser-cutting. It enables real-time data to be exchanged with lasers supporting the ultra-fast EtherCAT communication system. The EL2262 digital output terminal with eXtreme Fast Control (XFC) allows for output times in the µs range through oversampling and, by extension, flying cuts.
Utilizing an open CNC system for high-end laser cutting can improve efficiency, accuracy, and safety through more optimal control. This boost in efficiency can positively affect production for medical, aerospace, electronics, energy, and automotive industries that employ laser cutting machines.