Among the machinery suppliers that will be making product introductions at FABTECH 2013, Nov. 18-21 in Chicago, is one promoting an entry-level laser-cutting system for steel and aluminum. Mitsubishi will officially unveil its eXS series machine.
The eXS is a 2.7-kW CO2 laser, of which every component is manufactured in-house by Mitsubishi, including the all-important resonator. Jeff Hahn, national laser product manager for the Wood Dale, Ill., company, says the new model meets the growing demand among job shops for a laser-cutting machine with simple yet effective capabilities.
“We are seeing more interest [in laser cutting] among shops that may not need the applications range of a 4,500-W machine,” which is Mitsubishi’s most popular CO2 laser model, he explains.
Hahn terms the new laser-cutting machine as being affordable. He declined to discuss price, but collateral that will be available at FABTECH states that the eXS costs less than $600,000.
The eXS handles workpieces up to 5 x 10 ft. The machine has three axes of travel (X, Y, and Z), with ranges of 122 x 61 x 5.9 in, respectively. Cutting accuracy is enhanced with a capacitive height sensor mounted on the Z-axis, and precision is 0.002 in over 20 in, making it extremely accurate, Hahn notes. The machine also uses a helical rack-and-pinion system for travel, which Hahn says is more precise than a conventional straight version.
The literature states that the maximum processing rate is 1,968 ipm, for material thicknesses of 0.030-1.0 in. Maximum sheet weight is 2,040 lb., and the system has a load capacity of 6,000 lb./shelf based on two shelves—one for product and one for material to be cut.
One cost-saving feature of the eXS is elimination of quartz tubes in the cross-flow resonator. Hahn says the machine is equipped with, instead, a stainless steel chamber with optical components that are redone when they wear out.
Hahn notes that the market for laser-cutting machines — both CO2 and fiber — is growing. CO2 lasers are an established technology, and fiber lasers offer generally better cutting capabilities on thin steels and higher speeds. Both types of lasers cut reflective materials such as copper and brass, though fiber lasers cut faster due to their wavelength.
Mitsubishi will also show fiber-laser machines at FABTECH. Examples include the new NXF + EL4, which has automation geared to fiber-laser cutting speed and a tandem loading and unloading cycle that allows simultaneous preparation of a new workpiece while one is being cut.
The NXF + EL4, like the eXS, handles 5 x 10 ft workpieces. It has X-, Y-, and Z-axis travels of 125 by 62 by 4.7 in, respectively, and maximum processing speed of 2,360 ipm.
Mitsubishi will be at Booth S1719 in the South Hall of McCormick Place.