Laser cutters are sought after metal fabrication machines, preferred for their ability to cut a wide range of shapes at unsurpassed speeds. Yet despite advantages like those, shops are still sometimes hesitant to add a laser cutter to their floors. A laser cutter is, after all, a major investment. Will it be worth it?
In this article, we challenge three common misconceptions people have about laser cutters. Keep reading to learn more:
Myth #1: Laser Cutters Are Complicated to Operate
The reality is that, in many ways, laser cutters can be both easy and efficient to run and work with. Unlike other metal fabrication machines, laser cutters don’t require any tooling and can be pre-programmed to cut virtually any shape.
Is automated laser cutting right for you? Read our previous blog to learn more.
Myth #2: Laser Cutters Are Hard to Maintain
It’s true that in recent years laser cutter technology has become increasingly sophisticated, but those advancements also mean the machines have in many cases become simpler to maintain.
Mazak Optonics’ laser cutters boast a variety of features designed to simplify and streamline machine maintenance. These include machine start-up lists and maintenance checklists with diagrams that are posted on the side of the machine itself. Mazak Optonics’ laser cutters will also keep track of key issues and alert operators when they require attention.
Myth #3: Laser Cutters Are Unsafe
With laser cutting being a heat-related process, there will always be some potential hazards associated with it. Fortunately, when accompanied by proper safety procedures, laser cutters are incredibly safe machines to operate.
In recent years, Mazak Optonics has made significant strides in laser cutter safety:
- Its fiber and direct diode lasers are fully enclosed and interlocked. This means that the machines won’t allow beams to be discharged if any doors or access panels aren’t closed and locked. For safety reasons, the company has also made opening a door a three-step process.
- Mazak Optonics’ fiber lasers incorporate green glass windows so operators can look inside without opening doors or harming their eyes.
- Some of Mazak Optonics’ laser cutters feature a smart sensor that prevents machines from performing automatic movements or travelling at high speeds unless they’re fully interlocked, which keeps operators safe and prevents them from being struck by moving parts.
- Pallet changers are set up with light barriers, which if broken will shut the machine off immediately.The lights are also set to specific heights so someone couldn’t crawl underneath or jump over, and to change the pallet operators must go towards the end of the machine where they can physically see it.
That said, there are still crucial safety procedures operators should always take into account when operating a laser cutter such as:
- Never place flammable materials inside the cutting area.
- Oxygen should never be used as an assist gas when processing non-metals like aluminum.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Use special green safety glasses to for maximum eye protection.
To read more about laser cutter safety, check out Mazak Optonics’ article “Safety First”.
A laser cutter can be an incredibly valuable addition for many shops, improving efficiency, productivity, and overall quality. Make sure you work with an industry expert to assess all the options available to you when purchasing a laser cutter and come to a decision that will best meet your shop’s needs.
Do you want to discuss how an automated laser cutting solution from Mazak Optonics can work for your application? Contact the experts at Westway today!
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