Through thick and thin with the solid-state laser
Martin Krämer certainly likes to take a novel approach. That’s one reason why he made the transition from his TruLaser 1030 right to the top-of-the-league machine: a TruLaser 5030 fiber with BrightLine fiber.
It took no more than 36 months before Martin Krämer, at mid-2013, dared the leap into the first division. Having previously bought two TruLaser 1030 units, he invested in the TruLaser 5030 fiber. “Our debut in laser cutting was after the Blechexpo in 2009, and it sparked an enormous response among our customers. The TruLaser 1030, with its modest investment costs, was the ideal vehicle for that first step.”
But again and again, Krämer bumped up against limits – in terms of either productivity or maximum sheet metal gauge. This was particularly true for stainless steel. That is why Krämer took two steps at once. The transition to the high-performance TruLaser 5030 fiber was simply the logical consequence for him. “I had long been fascinated by the solid-state laser technology. And I wanted to achieve genuine productivity growth.” He estimated that output has increased by a factor of four to five when compared with the TruLaser 1030. The rise is even more significant when working thinner sheet metal.
BrightLine fiber pushes back physical limits
He especially values the change – on the fly, so to speak – between amazing productivity in thin sheet metal and quality cuts in thicker material. Responsible for this is the BrightLine fiber function. Martin Krämer: “BrightLine fiber has pushed back the physical limits that formerly prevailed. That makes the TruLaser 5030 fiber a real all-purpose machine. That helps us – as a job shop – to achieve the unlimited flexibility that the market requires.”
It’s true that the machine only operates in a “single shift” – but at Krämer, this has a special connotation. On average, the TruLaser 5030 fiber is in operation a good 13 hours a day. He is fascinated by his system’s reliability: “With perfect programming, we achieved availability of 99.9 percent during the first six months.”
Everything from a single source
Using his 5-kilowatt TruDisk Laser, Krämer today cuts stainless steel up to 25 millimeters thick in outstanding quality. Cutting aluminum of the same thickness is also possible. In addition, Krämer has already successfully completed his first orders for brass parts. The option of using nitrogen to cut copper without any oxide formation whatsoever – and in a very reliable process – will open up additional markets in the future.
Essential here is the perfect interplay of beam generation, beam guidance, and focusing. With TRUMPF products, all three of these central components are from a single source – from the laser resonator through to the cutting head and the matching nozzle technology. Martin Krämer: “Even when working thicker materials, BrightLine fiber considerably reduces the formation of burrs while smoothing the cutting edge. At the same time, process stability rises when cutting mild steel.”
No slag ejection when piercing the sheet
He is especially impressed by the new, multi-stage piercing process in combination with BrightLine fiber. This keeps slag from being ejected when the laser beam first pierces the sheet. This eliminates the need for the machine to work its way around the starting hole and that makes possible contours that are even more delicate. In addition, this laid the foundation for a new service being offered by Krämer. Customers are ever more frequently asking him to deliver parts incorporating threads. The laser can cut the small mounting holes needed at exactly the desired spot – in thick or thin sheet metal.
Contact us: MastersofSheetMetal@trumpf.com
This article was first published in February 2014.