Sheet metal processing with laser cutters is fast becoming a more attractive proposition to fabrication shops.
One recognised distributor of such technology has urged potential buyers that doing the appropriate homework before making a commitment makes the difference between winning and losing out.
Advanced Sheetmetal Technologies (AST), which has the range of top-level FINN-POWER laser systems in its product portfolio, says there are important steps that need to be taken before taking the laser plunge.
Like most sheet metal machines, modern laser cutters are high technology and they normally represent a long-term investment. So it is imperative that any potential buyer takes the mystery out of such equipment and this is done by making a thorough analysis of what is suitable for them.
This does not just apply to the practical side of using laser cutting equipment; it includes cost factors that have to be taken into account to make sure the end user is making an investment that will lead to profit rather than loss.
It is now vitally important to bear all this in mind, because more and more small fabrication shops see clearly they can branch into lucrative, specialised work and it is laser cutting equipment that allows them to contemplate niche diversification for their businesses.
FINN-POWER laser cutters such as the L6 haves the utmost in computer assisted manufacturing, such as an integrated database for storing unlimited combinations of laser parameters for various material types.
Operation is so simple that a programmer selects the material type and sheet thickness and the system determines the required parameter for proper part processing with all the associated data stored in special interactive technology tables.
A user friendly Windows-based interface ensures that all data is constantly in view on the status screen or shown in graphic form so that process adjustments are possible at all times.
Essentially, all necessary functions for maintenance, set-up and manual operations are integrated.
The next level of analysis involves taking a thorough look at the kinds of jobs to be put through the laser process. This identifies optimum time allocations that not only identify cycle times but also shows up just how free the machine will be to take on additional work.
Then, once all these critical looks have been taken, a thorough cost analysis could be done which returns accurate figures project running costs and profit margins for the next few years.
Laser cutting technology is now affordable and is opening doors for sheet metal shops to develop new types of profitable ventures that arguably were not possible before.
But it is strongly recommended that laser cutting technology, as good as it is should not be purchased unless a thorough analysis is performed to ensure its implementation is maximised.