Before we start talking about laser cutting machines for sheet metal, let us determine that Wattsan supplies two kinds of CNC laser machines. Models differ in price and purpose.
What kinds of machines does Wattsan supply?
- Laser fiber machines for processing non-metallic materials;
- Laser fiber machines for processing different kinds of metals.
Now we will mainly talk about fiber optic CNC laser machines for cutting metal (steel and non-ferrous metals).
What is a laser metal cutter?
The heart of a fiber laser sheet metal cutting machine is the laser source, which greatly influences the cost. The laser source determines the thickness of the material to be cut (e.g., a sheet of steel) and the speed at which the laser metal cutting machine will cut.
However, before we start talking about the sheet metal cutting machine in detail, let us get acquainted with the structure of the laser machine for metal. It consists of four parts:
- CNC (computer numerical controlled);
Let us talk about each group.
How to choose a laser machine for metal
Metal cutter tooling
The CNC fiber laser machine tooling includes:
- Laser head;
- Cooling system.
Wattsan metal cutting machines use a fiber-optic laser source, which differs significantly from other metal cutting methods such as plasma, gas cutting, waterjet cutting, and other types of lasers such as CO2.
Why the fiber source is used?
Because with it you can achieve high precision metal cutting, high speed, as well as a high price-to-profit ratio.
What makes it possible to achieve high precision metal cutting?
Due to the long service life of the laser fiber optic source and the absence of the need for constant expensive maintenance of this source. As well as a high coefficient of conversion of electrical energy into optical.
There are many brands making fiber sources. Wattsan uses laser sources of such brands as IPG, Raycus, MAXphotonics, JPT. The main one is the world’s leading manufacturer of laser fiber optic sources – IPG.
Why do we use IPG?
They are a high level of service, very experienced in the use, manufacture and production of fiber laser sources. They are the inventors of fiber laser sources.
Their products have the highest reliability, which is reflected in low rates of shrinkage after long-term use. While other fiber optic sources can lose up to 20% of capacity per year, IPG has a rate of 1 to 3%.
What is the power of laser fiber sources?
The choice varies from 500 W to 20 kW. There are even more power sources, but as a rule, they are rarely used in production.
At the same time, low-power fiber optic sources have become less popular. This is due to the popularity of laser metal cutters in the world market and the rise of competitors. The 500, 700 and 1000 W laser fiber optic sources have outlived or are outliving their usefulness.
Currently the most popular fiber source is the 1.5 kW one, which allows cutting stainless steel sheets up to 6 mm thick. Generally, the 1.5 kW source is chosen by those clients who cut thin steel sheets.
The 3 kW fiber source is the choice of those who cut steel or other sheet metal of greater thickness. Also, the 3 kW fiber optic source is suitable for those who cut sheets of steel or other material in large volumes with continuous loading at high speed.
As we already mentioned, the fiber laser source does not require expensive and frequent maintenance. It is a closed unit that is installed into a laser sheet metal cutting machine. A transport fiber comes out of it, which delivers the laser emission to the laser head.
The laser emission is delivered directly to the working area via an optical fiber. That is why there is no need to use an expensive mirror system that has to be adjusted, tested, replaced and cooled frequently.
Laser head for Metal Cutter
The laser head of a metal cutter is a device that contains a number of optical elements to focus the laser power in the cutting zone. The elements are involved in the delivery of the gas mixture necessary for metal processing.
The main brands used on the Wattsan machines:
On request, any other laser head can be supplied with few reservations.
What does a metal cutter laser head consist of?
It contains a focusing lens, collimator and focusing blocks, protected by glass on top and bottom. The lower protective glass is the main consumable.
The laser head of the metal cutter is involved in delivering gas to the cutting zone. For cutting ferrous metals, air or oxygen is most often used, for cutting stainless steel and non-ferrous metals – nitrogen, for titanium – argon.
The third part of the laser head of the metal cutter is a ceramic ring and a nozzle. The nozzle is involved in delivering the gas to the cutting zone. Its diameter depends on the thickness of the material to be cut and the required pressure of this gas.
The ceramic ring, along with the nozzle, is part of the tracking system that is very important for cutting sheet metal. Metal does not always have a perfectly flat surface. The capacitive sensor in the laser head and the metal tracking system help to achieve even metal cutting.
The kinematics block includes such elements as:
- Guide rails;
- Helical racks.
The Wattsan Company uses Mitsubishi servomotors.
They have a high level of reliability and efficiency, available service, low vibration and are quite compact.
Mitsubishi servomotors are available all over the world. Mitsubishi service centers are located in each country. On the customer’s request, other servomotors can be installed with few reservations.
The servomotor works in combination with a planetary gearbox. The task of the planetary gearbox is to convert speed into force. Wattsan uses SHIMPO NIDEC or STOBER gearboxes. A gearbox is an analogue of an automatic transmission in a car.
Wattsan carefully selects the gearboxes for servomotors and does not skimp on it. The gearbox takes on a significant part of the load and its resource must correspond to the resource of the CNC machine.
The servomotor and the gearbox together form the servo drive. The rotary motion of the servo drive is transmitted through a gear to a helical rack, which is the best solution in terms of price-quality-reliability ratio. The accuracy of movement of the CNC machine is provided by rails.
The main brand used by Wattsan is HIWIN. HIWIN products are widespread and have the highest reliability. It is the market leader among guide rail manufacturers.
Support and service
CNC is the so-called brain of the fiber optic CNC sheet metal cutting machine, which consists of software and electronic components. Wattsan uses a CNC system from FRIENDESS called FSCUT.
CNC FSCUT is an optimal choice as this CNC contains all the functionality necessary for high-quality metal cutting.
CNC is a software that includes so-called CAD and CAM. It can be easily mastered by an operator with any level of experience. CNC is suitable for preparing, correcting and modifying drawings.
The CNC controls the fiber laser sheet metal machine as well. And that’s a Wattsan advantage, because some competitors present it as a bonus. In some companies, the CAM controls the metal machine in CNC, while the CAD is installed on another computer, where the engineer prepares drawings in advance.
If the FSCUT control is used, however, the CypCut program for the laser machine tool is used. In the CNC system, CypCut can be installed on another computer. In this case, the planning engineer will himself prepare the task for the operator. Thus, full compatibility is achieved as the same CNC is used.
In addition, the FSCUT CNC includes a sheet metal tracking system called BCS 100. The BCS 100 system in the CNC maintains a constant height above the metal sheet. This is important because the focus of the laser beam must be at the same level.
Also, the BCS 100 in the CNC allows you to provide functions such as positioning the sheet of metal on the working table, collision protection, or protection against damaging the entire sheet. If the CNC collides with an obstacle while cutting a sheet of metal, it will stop. The operator can correct the situation at that time, rather than ruining the entire sheet.
Dimensions and power
What are the dimensions of Wattsan CNC laser fiber machines?
Wattsan CNC machines have the following dimensions: 1325, 1530, and 2030.
When choosing the size of the working area, many customers are guided by the basic types of steel sizes they plan to cut. For example, when cutting brass they often use a CNC fiber optic metal cutting machine with a 1000 by 1000 mm working area (in other words, 1 by 1 meter).
The most popular are laser cutting machines for metal with a working area of 1300 by 2500 mm. This is one of the sizes of rolled stainless steel. 1500 by 3000 mm is one of the sizes of chopped steel. It is logical that with an increase in the size of the working area, the thickness of the frame used also increases.
What are the advantages of a bed or frame?
The main ones are frame thickness, travel speed, vibration damping, good price, durability, and a service life of 10 years and more.
It is important that the bed is of high quality and has the right configuration. This avoids vibrations. The thickness of the frames used on Wattsan CNC machines depends on the size of the working area and the travel speed.
As the speed of the CNC metal cutter increases, the inertia also increases. To compensate for this, frames with larger thicknesses are used.
The frames on Wattsan CNC fiber optic cutters have the right structure, the most optimal for absorbing vibrations. In addition, there are sheets of reinforcement inside the frame every 400 mm. This contributes to its excessive strength.
During manufacturing, the frames undergo a heat treatment called annealing. This type of treatment allows you to extend the service life to10 years and more.
What is Wattsan’s main goal? The main goal is to ensure long service life of our machines without outages or downtime.
The portal moves along the Y axis. In addition, there is a laser head on the portal that moves across the sheet. All portal are made of aluminum.
At the same time, correct aluminum manufacturing technologies are important to improve quality. The gantry must be light in order to ensure fast acceleration, to achieve the necessary speed and braking, and to reduce the load on all structural elements.
We got acquainted with the main structural elements of a laser cutting machine for metal.
The next question that is important to discuss is:
How to choose a CNC fiber laser machine?
The most popular models of Wattsan fiber laser machines among our customers:
Wattsan 1530 Basic
Price – from $26,000.
It is distinguished by its size, travel speed and good price. The CNC fiber optic machine has a popular working area size of 1.5 by 3 m. This allows you to fit almost all popular sizes of metal sheets. In addition, the travel speed provides quite quick and productive cutting.
Wattsan 1530 Basic with a travel speed of 60 m/min is not as expensive as, for example, 100 or 120 m/min machines, the price for which is much higher. This model is ideal for working with stainless steel, carbon steel of small thickness. Most often, 1530 metal cutters are used by our customers in combinations with sources from 1 to 3 kW.
Wattsan 1325 Basic
|Work area||1300 x 2500 mm|
|Laser power||1kW – 3kW|
|Travel speed||60 m/min|
|Laser emitter||Raycus / MAX Photonics / IPG|
Price – from $24,500.
The second most popular laser sheet metal cutter is the Wattsan 1325 with a travel speed of 60 m/min. This metal cutter is very popular because of its price. The low cost is due to the 60 m/min travel speed and a thinner frame than the 100 m/min or 120 m/min CNC machines.
The size of the Wattsan 1325 fiber optic machine is not as popular as the 1500 by 3000 because some sheets of chopped steel do not fit on it. However, it is a great option for those who work with rolled stainless steel, or with small steel fragments and chunks.
1325 is the most popular 1300 by 2500 (51 by 98 inches) size in the world. Many moderate industries use 1530, while small industries choose 1325. That is why this size of metal cutters is popular with small companies that process steel and other metals.
Price – from $29,000.
The third most popular with our customers is the Wattsan 1530 laser metal cutting machine. This CNC fiber optic machine has a travel speed of 100 m/min and a frame thickness of 8-10 mm. The metal cutter has a reinforcement sheet every 400 mm.
The CNC machine has a durable aluminum portal, which allows you to accelerate quickly and brake quickly if necessary. Accordingly, the metal cutting process speeds up several times.
Typically, this CNC fiber optic machine comes with sources from 1.5 kW to 6 kW. Most often, customers using the potential of a 3-6 kW source purchase a metal cutter with a travel speed of 100 m/min.
In addition, the 1530 fiber laser cutting machine has not only a thick frame, but also a zoned smoke evacuation system. This saves energy and increases air intake efficiency threefold. This is especially true when cutting low-carbon steel.
Also Wattsan metal cutters have an internal upgrade we haven’t talked about in a while. It is an automatic tablechange system.
What is an auto tablechange?
If the customers want to upgrade their metal cutting machine, they only need to order a replacement table because the software of the fiber laser machine allows working with an automatic change system. As a result, the client gets a metal cutter twice as big as was required.
Wattsan 1530 Tablechange
Price – from $41,300.
This fiber optic metal cutting machine has a travel speed of 120 m/min. In fact, this speed is necessary in order to make idle movements more efficiently.
Due to its components, the metal cutter allows the use of sources from 3 to 6 kW. Generally, high power sources are not used on this machine.
Most often, the metal cutter is designed to cut thin metals. The fiber optic machine is especially popular for cutting stainless steel straight from a roll and for cutting oversized steel.
The laser metal cutting machine is most often purchased by large manufacturing companies that understand the load capacity of this metal cutter. The maximum possible load on the table is 1.5 tons.
Wattsan 1530 Cabine
Price – from $37,000.
The Wattsan metal cutter 1.5 by 3 m, 100 m/min with cabine has a number of advantages. The main purpose of the cabine is to protect the customer’s personnel from laser radiation.
Due to safety requirements in many countries, machines with a power of 2 kW or more must be equipped with a cab. Protective screens must be made of special glass.
Cabins on laser machines contribute to better smoke evacuation. Our metal cutters have both an exhaust system and a fresh air intake into the working area of the machine.
Additional lighting systems allow you to work with more comfort. The machine has an aesthetic and beautiful appearance.
|Work area||1600 x 1200 mm|
|Max engraving speed||1000 mm|
|Dimensions||2500 * 2000 * 1320 mm|
Price – from $6,000.
We would like to highlight the Wattsan NC-C1612 machine as a separate selection. The metal cutter is in demand due to its low cost. The price of the machine is much lower than that of some other metal cutting models. This is a CO2 laser machine with metal cutting function, which is fed with oxygen and uses a tube from 160 to 270 watts.
An exclusive feature of this metal cutting machine is that it can cut both steel and nonmetals.
The 150-watt laser tube allows you to cut plywood up to 15 mm thick. Therefore, if you need to cut thin sheet steel up to 1.5 mm and then thick plywood or wood, this metal cutter is an ideal option.
Cutting sheet steel is not as good as with fiber laser machines and requires additional machining. Given the multifunctionality of this machine, this point is not critical. We singled out this machine in a separate position on our top.
It was done in order to show that there are metal cutters that can cut both metal and non-metal. But the quality of the cutting is lower. If any customer needs this versatility, they can find a use for this metal cutter.
The machine operating principle
The laser beam is generated in the source and enters the laser head, which is controlled by the CNC. The CNC also controls X, Y and Z axis movements. The laser head focuses on the metal and cuts. This is done by vaporizing the metal.
When cutting non-ferrous metals and stainless steel, nitrogen is used. For cutting carbon steel, oxygen is needed. In addition, air can be used for cutting. This requires the purchase of a special system – an air compressor, air dryers and filters.
Cutting with air saves a lot on gas costs, but at the same time, it is an expensive purchase at the time of starting work.
This method makes it possible to cut a metal with a thickness of 3 mm with a source of up to 3 kW. If the source is of higher power, this figure can change to 10 mm.
Each metal cutter comes with a chiller that cools the source and the laser head. Also, each machine has a ventilation system, without which the work is simply impossible. It removes combustion products.
How a metal cutter is mounted
Each machine has an annealed metal bed. Special places are milled on it, where guide rails, helical racks, and other mechanical components are mounted.
All these parts are mounted on the machine’s bed. Next, the servomotors, gear wheels and other construction units of the metal cutter are mounted on this frame with rails and racks.
The laser head, into which the laser source is wound, is mounted on the portal. Thus, the cooling of the laser head and the source is connected. Also the exhaust system is connected to the metal cutter. The whole process is controlled by the CNC system.
What can be cut out by the machine?
Many companies use the machines. All customers who use machines in their work can be divided into two groups.
- Medium and small business customers. These are customers who are simply cutting metal, using machines for the home. Among them, there are also large customers who are engaged in the supply of metal.
They use metal-cutting machines to pre-cut a metal sheet into the parts of convenient for their own clients sizes. Typically, these customers have Wattsan laser machines with a large working area. This allows them to cut a metal sheet to the right size.
- The second group is customers who are involved in the production of the final product. They may include small, medium or large business customers. They use Wattsan metal cutting machines as part of one large production facility. Among them there are manufacturers of cabinets, doors, aircraft manufacturing companies, etc.
Some customers use Wattsan sheet metal machines as part of a large industrial complex in the aircraft industry. Mobile operators that produce keys to extract SIM cards in large volumes are also our clients. For this category of customers, a metal-cutting machine is the most optimal choice, because the resulting product does not require additional processing and post-processing.
Among the customers of the second group are manufacturers of steel cabinets or cooling systems for the back surface of computer cases where ventilation is required. For example, a perforation job is best done with the FLY CUT option.
If the perforation holes the customer requires always vary in size, the metal cutting machine is more flexible for this. FLY CUT allows you to perforate different shapes and sizes.
In large-scale production, choppers are most often used. However, they are not flexible enough. It takes a lot of time to change the cut or its shape (from squares to circles, from circles to triangles). In a metal-cutting machine, it does not take time to do this.
Souvenir and award-winning products are often made on machines. Machines are used in car manufacturing. But most often, laser equipment is used in combination with laser welders.
Fire and steel doors for houses, equipment enclosures, storage equipment, various brackets, fastening systems, and the storage system are produced this way.
Various trays are cut on laser machines. Machine tools are used by companies in the defense industry for the manufacture of urban products (benches for home and street, playgrounds, table decorations).
Often Wattsan machines are used in shipbuilding in combination with bending and welding machines.
Let us summarize. Wattsan fiber laser cutting machines are used wherever cutting speed and flexibility is required:
- Where there is a need to change from one product shape to another;
- Where there is a complex cutting of sheet metal;
- In areas where it is necessary that the product does not require additional post-processing. So that the product can go straight into the next process.
Note that due to the use of laser metal-cutting machines, the product does not need grinding щк cleaning. It is immediately ready for painting or welding.
Our goal is to become the supplier of choice for both our customers and our dealers by virtue of our expertise.
We continually learn from the experiences of our customers and service engineers all over the world.
The acquired knowledge is accumulated in the development section. The development department is guided by the best circuits of the leading machine tool builders, by our own experience and by the experience of our customers.
Sometimes, small flaws that do not entail an increase in cost are more beneficial to customers, than, for example, serious modernization, which requires a lot of money.
We choose our component supply partners based on reliability and worldwide availability of the components. Our goal is to make sure that Wattsan fiber optic machines do not stand idle by our customers.
That is why we try to select the most common components possible. If customers cannot order directly from the factory, they can purchase the necessary components in their own country.
The customer service support system is designed so that everyone around the world can get advice from the factory.
And it does not matter where the customer bought the machine (from our dealer or on the secondary market) and how long he has been using it.
Our dealers are required to provide information support to customers who have contacted them. A customer can contact us at any time of the day and get a prompt answer on the equipment. Our service engineers are on duty regularly.
Our customers are individuals, small businesses, large corporations, and holdings, and we do not distinguish between small and large businesses. We must provide everyone with the most prompt and organized assistance when they have questions about sheet metal cutting machines.
We are in the equipment business ourselves and feel most acutely how critical downtime is. We do everything to prevent it. This situation can arise for a variety of reasons: due to the design of the fiber optic sheet metal machine and accessories, or service support issues.
Knowing how to use the fiber optic metal cutter correctly, the client saves our time for service support.
That is why our tasks and the tasks of our dealers include the training of our customers’ operators. By knowing the correct operating and cutting conditions for the purchased equipment, you can save on consumables such as gas.
For example, if you use the FLY CUT mode, you will use about 6 cylinders of gas per day. If you are perforating sheet metal without this mode, you will use as much as 12 cylinders of gas per day. That is why it is our job to train the operators and make sure they do not overspend.
Only a comprehensive approach to solving our customers’ issues ensures Wattsan’s growth and leadership in the global marketplace.
How much does a laser metal cutter cost?
The cost of a fiber laser sheet metal cutting machine depends on its frame, travel speed, and the emitter used. Sometimes the cost of the emitter, which affects the power of the machine, can be more than the cost of the machine itself.
Prices for Wattsan fiber laser sheet metal cutting machines with a working area of 1325 and minimum emitter power start at $24,500.
Can the machine cut metals?
Yes, of course, this is what our article is about. Fiber laser cutting machines can cut metal. There are low power CO2 fiber optic machines that are not designed for metal cutting. However, there are also high power CO2 fiber optic machines that are used for this purpose.
What are the disadvantages of laser cutting?
The disadvantages of fiber laser cutting are primarily related to the cost of the equipment purchased. Compared to plasma cutting, for example, the machine will cost 2-3 times as much. But this is nothing compared to the result obtained.
What are the pros and cons of laser cutting?
The advantage of cutting sheet metal with a Wattsan fiber laser machine is that the product does not require any post-processing. The fiber laser cutter cuts the product at a very high speed that other alternative cutting methods do not offer.
Another advantage of the fiber optic machine is its flexibility. Chopping metal is faster than cutting metal with a laser. But it takes much longer to set up a chopping line than to set up a laser cutting machine for sheet metal. That is, at the time of cutting, you can change products. Each successive piece can be a different configuration.
The disadvantage of fiber laser cutting is the relative difficulty to master, but it is associated with any CNC equipment. If a person has worked on a CNC machine, then this disadvantage is leveled out.
How precise is a laser cutting of steel?
The accuracy of a fiber optic sheet metal machine is measured in hundredths. This is due to the kinematics of the metal cutter used. Today it is one of the most precise cutting methods, second only to electrical discharge machining (EDM).
At the moment, such accuracy and quality of the result cannot be achieved on any equipment other than laser fiber optic cutting.