Welcome to 2018! An era in which professionals do not have to spend hours romancing their machinery to give quality production. As companies have embraced state-of-the-art technologies, there is no fretting and sweating over outdated methods. The same stands true for the field of laser cutting. Ask laser professionals about old laser cutting days. A simple task like refocusing the laser used to take 15 minutes to an hour. But, thanks to the advent of auto-focusing lenses, state-of-the-art LVD laser consumables and excellent material types; laser cutting jobs became effortless. Tasks like refocusing now takes lesser than a minute.
Does the above scenario prove that laser operators have no work? Nope. Even if the operators rely on software, they must supervise certain aspects. Especially when it comes to creating complex designs. If these tasks go unattended, the quality will deteriorate. They need to check the gas pressure, lens focus, inspect cut edges and final production to ensure the output quality. Let us downsize the tasks of laser operators into 3 phases. Here is how we can divide it:
- Supervising the Cutting Process
- Preventive Maintenance
Now, let us understand each one of these points in detail:
1. Supervising the Cutting Process
Imagine these scenarios. The laser’s sensor passes through an already cut part. The scraps of the metal interfere with the laser nozzle. Metal has burnt corners and dross forms on its bottom. These might come across as normal situations but they make a huge difference to the final output. If the laser operator supervises keenly, he can keep situations like these at bay. For example, if the sensor is not able to ride on the tipped-up part, its head might crash; leading to nozzle damage and prolonged production hours.
The operator should also supervise the gas pressure and make sure it is consistent. If there is a drop in the gas pressure, it means that the cylinder is about to get over. Even if the supervisor defines the machine cutting parameters, there are chances for the materials to form a dross. Thus, he constantly needs to be around the sight and keep a check on these details.
2. Recordkeeping tasks
Although the software keeps a lot of digital information, it can also deceive you in case it loses data. To keep such situations at bay, it is advisable to keep a backup of all the data. A data logbook is always a great help for professionals who operate laser cutting machines. For example, if they want to keep a record of the number of Mitsubishi laser parts that he is maintaining or recently replaced, they can do that. They can also note the hours for which the laser was working as compared to actual cutting time they took.
Through the above rituals they can keep a check on the operation efficiency, cutting hours, number of laser parts they bought and other details. One can also keep a record of the time taken to undertake different laser cutting tasks. Sometimes, there are changes in the cutting conditions due to a bad quality lens. An operator should make a note of it and take necessary changes.
3. The Preventive Maintenance
Last but not the least, comes the most undermined job of a laser cutting operator. If they stop checking on laser spare parts and maintaining them, they are sure to see adverse effects in no time! It not only affects the production quality, quantity, and time but also makes huge holes in your pockets. Operators should supervise the cutting nozzles, lenses, and other parts at regular intervals. They should also keep a record of how often they need to change the parts.
The maintenance of laser machines depends a lot on the material which it cut often. Some materials tend to spatter more as compared to others. Hence, the laser machines that work with aluminium and steel require regular supervision and maintenance. Conducting regular maintenance check will save a lot of time, money, and efforts.
If you are a laser cutting operator working in today’s times, you are sure to have undergone the above-mentioned steps in some way or the other. We hope the above information was helpful. Please feel free to share your insights on laser cutting operation roles!