Page 30 - MetalForming August 2017
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6-kW Fiber Laser
Moves the Tipping Point
...on cutting mild-steel sheetmetal and plate at this metal-fabrication
job shop beyond 1⁄4 in., and as thick as 3⁄8 in. (vs. cutting using a CO2 laser), thanks to specialized process development combining oxygen cutting
with a fiber-laser machine.
Metal-fabrication job shop BMG of Kansas, Inc., from its 50,000- sq.-ft. location in Hesston, KS, churns out cut and formed mild-steel parts by the tens of thousands, with a focus on mild steel from 22 gauge to 1 in. thick. With the sweet spot being 14-gauge sheetmetal to 1⁄2 in. plate, high-power laser cutting has been the company’s go-to fabrication process, supplemented by state-of-the-art press brakes (some with automatic tool-change capabilities) to help keep up with the escalating part vol- umes flying off of its lasers.
BMG originated as an OEM manu- facturer of hay-processing and related farm equipment in 1985; it evolved fully into a job-shop fabricator in 2000, under the ownership of the Brenneman family. Today, according to COO Doug Brenneman, the company operates four laser-cutting machines (all Amada units)—a 6-kW CO2 machine and three
fiber-laser machines (one 4-kW and two 6-kW units).
“Since 2003, when we brought in our first laser-cutting machine (a 2-kW Amada Pulsar CO2 model),” says Bren- neman, “we’ve owned and operated a total of 10 Amada laser-cutting machines and logged more than 250,000 hr. of cut- ting time. We went from 2-kW machines to 4-kW, and then to 6-kW over the years, and even added rotary indexing at one time to laser-cut tube, pipe and struc- tural parts. Along the way, we often dou- bled cutting speed with each upgrade, including in 2013 when we installed our first fiber machine—a 4-kW Amada FOL-AJ equipped with an ASLUL mate- rial-storage tower.”
A Fiber-Laser’s Work is Never Done
That initial fiber-laser cutting machine, says Brenneman, when cut-
ting with nitrogen, doubled the cutting speed on material to 1⁄8 in. thick com- pared to using CO machines. Cutting
28 MetalForming/August 2017
Early in 2017, fabricator BMG of Kansas brought in its second 6-kW fiber-laser cutting machine to round out its stable, for work thicker than 1⁄4 in.
speed for the company doubled again,
when it upgraded to a 6-kW LCG-AJ machine (see the accompanying graph).
As an example, Brenneman says that when processing 11-gauge mild steel, cutting speed rose from 300 in./min. with the 4-kW fiber laser to 600 in./min. with the 6-kW machine.
“And, with that 6-kW upgrade we were able to move all of our 1⁄4 in. and thinner work to the fiber-laser machine,” he says. “That new machine, added in 2015, really covered a majority of our product range.”
Early in 2017 BMG brought in its sec- ond 6-kW fiber-laser cutting machine to round out its stable, “for work as thick as 1⁄4 in. with the high-speed nitrogen cut,” Brenneman explains. “And, as a

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