Page 10 - MetalForming March 2011
P. 10

  Tech Update
Amada Introduces 4-kW Fiber-Laser Cutting Machine
Following its debut in October 2010 at the EuroBlech machine-tool show in Ger- many, Amada’s FOL-F fiber-laser cutting machine now is available to metalformers. The machine reportedly boasts the fastest motion system available, combined with the world’s first 4000-W production fiber laser specifically designed for cutting.
Featuring linear drives in the x, y and z axes, the FOL-F is engineered to provide 5G acceleration for the entire work envelope, and rapid traverse speeds in excess of 13,000 in./min. Cutting speed on some thin-gauge sheetmetal will be as much as 300 percent faster than possible with a CO2 laser. A single fiberoptic line deliv- ers the beam directly to the cutting head without the use of mirrors in the laser source or in the beam delivery path, eliminating maintenance required for beam alignment and the costs associated with mirror replacement. Wall-plug efficiency is improved, and operating costs are reduced thanks to lower energy consumption and the elim- ination of the need for laser gas or optics.
Due to the shortened wavelength of the fiber laser’s beam compared to a CO2 laser beam, the FOL-F can more readily cut challenging materials such as copper, brass and titanium. And, to optimize green-light on-time, the machine can be equipped with an optional eight-station changer that automatically changes, cleans and calibrates the nozzle and head based on the requirements of the workpiece material.
Amada America, Inc.: 714/739-2111;
Waterjet-Cutting Contract Manufacturer Enjoys Remarkable Growth
The Great Recession has been no match for Pegasus Northwest, Kent, WA, a Boe- ing-certified industrial waterjet-cutting shop that has experienced a 57-percent increase in sales since 2007. Its expansion has kept its five waterjet-cutting machines (all from Jet Edge, St. Michael, MN) humming 20 hr./day during the week and another 12 hr./day on weekends.
Pegasus’ computer-controlled 60,000-psi waterjet-cutting machines carve virtu- ally any material as thick as 14 in. for a variety of industries, including military, marine, automotive, architectural and aerospace. It counts Boeing among its major longtime customers, and credits the aerospace manufacturer for inspiring it to enter the pre- cision waterjet-cutting market in 1997—27 years after its inception.
In recent years, while other busi- nesses went into bunker mode, says gen- eral manager Ron Palstring, Pegasus Northwest took the initiative to become the first AS9100-certified company in Washington, and hired a full-time sales and marketing manager to drum up new business. As a result, the company is run- ning at 70-percent capacity and has even installed two additional Jet Edge waterjet-cutting machines to keep up with demand.
“We invested more than $30,000 to become AS9100 certified,” shares Pal- string, “and a lot of hard work from our quality manager and entire staff. We now have to pass annual audits and fol- low strict rules and procedures.”
Pegasus’ commitment to its quality program and its experience meeting stringent aerospace-industry perform- ance requirements have helped it grow into one of the largest waterjet shops in the region.
“We can hold tight tolerances, ±0.005 in. in most cases,” Palstring says, “and sometimes even tighter depending on the material. We can cut thick materials and only leave 0.060 in. of excess per side. And, we have drills mounted on our cut- ting machines so that we can pre-drill sen- sitive materials such as composites.
“We outfitted our cutting machines with diamond waterjet orifices,” Pal- string continues, “which last approxi- mately six months and help us to max- imize nozzle life and optimize efficiency and accuracy.”
Boeing approved and qualified Pega- sus’ waterjet-cutting machines because of their consistent accuracy, says Pal- string, noting that the firm collected data for quarterly ball-bar and laser cal- ibrations during a 2-yr. span. Now Pega- sus has authorization to ball-bar and laser its own machines per its quality procedures.
Pegasus’s waterjet tables include 12- by 14-ft. and 12- by 8-ft. setups, each with two cutting heads and a drill; a 6- by 10-ft. table with four heads and a drill; an 8- by 10-ft. table with four heads; and a 6- by 10-ft. table with two heads. The
 8 MetalForming/March 2011

   8   9   10   11   12