Variable Frequency Drives in a CO3 Laser Machine
CO2 lasers use DC (direct current) voltage to stimulate a mixture of gases. The gas mixture produces ultra-tiny light waves that can cut or engrave materials such as wood, paper, leather, some plastics and anodized aluminum.
The laser focuses the light on the material to be cut using lenses. The movement of the laser gantry is powered by belt drives or gear drive systems that are supported by linear aluminum rails.
Variable Frequency Drive
Lasers require a good deal of electrical power and it is the duty of the variable frequency drive to provide the proper amount of energy to make this happen. The VFD is also responsible for the precise control of the power supplied to the gasses used in laser processing.
In a CO2 laser machine, electricity runs through a gas-filled tube that has mirrors at both ends. The light from the laser reflects off the mirrors and into the material being processed. Heat from the 10.6 micron wavelength vaporizes the material being cut and leaves behind a precise, accurate finish.
While CO2 lasers are very useful at low powers, high power levels require sophisticated systems to maintain stable operation. This is because the beam is often very hot and focuses on areas of interest with very little spread. This means that the thermal lensing that can occur with other gases, which allows the focused spot to remain small, must be avoided in a CO2 laser.
Additionally, the 10.6 micron light can be absorbed by many contaminants, particularly in air. These can be water vapor, hydrocarbons or even CO2. This absorption is often overlooked since it does not occur at the ‘typical’ wavelength used for lasers and is only noticeable when the light is very intense. Consequently, systems designed to use CO2 lasers must be carefully inspected for leaks.
A CO2 laser works by direct energy transfer (pumping). Two electrodes run down the length of a sealed chamber filled with the gas to be lased. An electrical discharge across them excites the gas to spontaneously emit a beam. This is done with a special gas mixture that includes He and N2 to boost efficiency. This enables power outputs of 10 to 20 kW per meter of tube length and is independent of the diameter of the tube.
To increase the energy output further it’s important that the gas is cooled. This is why the machines are designed with a working table that allows manual or automatic lifting of materials to provide proper cooling.
Servo motors are better than stepper motors for positioning CO3 Laser Machine the gantry and laser head, because they can deliver a more precise position. They are more expensive, though, as they require a gearbox and encoder to adjust pulses.
Most of the lasers that go up to a couple of kW use a flowing gas design. This has the advantage of low or no maintenance, but it has lower efficiency than a sealed tube and is difficult to drive above a few kW. This type of laser requires a large power supply that may need a Variac for voltage control. It can also be driven using RF excited (microwave or radiofrequency) to increase efficiency but this involves more complicated electrode and resonator arrangements.
Servo motors are used to control the movement of the laser CO3 Laser Machine head on the laser machine. They are much faster than stepper motors, and also offer a closed-loop control of position, speed and torque. This improves the accuracy of the machine and makes it more suitable for high-speed applications such as cutting curved / organic contours in plastic. However, they are still not commonly used in all laser machines as they can be more expensive to install than other types of drives.
Co2 lasers can be very useful in many different industries, notably in the medical sector where they are used to replace scalpels. The laser beam is extremely powerful and is able to cut and engrave very precisely, creating clean cuts with a smooth finish.
Laser cutting machines are used to create designs, patterns and artwork on a wide variety of materials. They can also be used to add high-definition graphics to materials, such as glass and metal. Laser cutting is one of the fastest, most accurate and reliable forms of cutting available today, making it ideal for use in the modern world of manufacturing.
MimoWork offers its Blue Elephant 1325 CO2 Laser Cutter and Engraver with three types of drive systems – belt, gear and servo motors. Each type has its pros and cons, and it is up to the customer to decide which is best suited for their needs.
The control panel provides easy to use controls for adjusting the laser. It includes X/Y/Z/U for four axes and the ability to connect limit switches. It also has input and output capabilities for other devices. The panel has a screen that displays machine status and allows you to change settings from the controller interface. A reset button will return the machine to its original position.
The Model 305 is paired with our Laser-Tech Model 361 Receiver which is mounted to a simple column pipe. During initial set up, the receiver is centered using the laser reference signal then clamped into place. After that, the operator can re-adjust the blade elevation by electronically relocating the “center” band anywhere on the receiver from inside the cab. This completely electronic system is ideal for dozer and scraper pad finishing applications.
After a cut, the machine will beep three times. Once the beeps stop, open the lid and wait 30 seconds to allow any hazardous fumes to escape. Remove any parts that are stuck, vacuum small debris and clean the table area. Be sure to wear protective gloves and safety glasses when handling any materials that have been cut. If a material catches fire, shut off the laser cutter and press the emergency stop button located on the panel. Make sure the fire extinguisher is within reach and is working properly.