During the cutting process the laser head is traversing to its next cut often very fast and close to the material surface. If a piece of material has tipped and is protruding above the surface area a collision is likely to occur. In most instances damage to the laser head is both considerable and costly. Be especially vigilant when cutting thin metals as this is when tipping is most common. Fortunately most crashes are avoidable. With a preview of the nest the operator can sometimes recognize where there is potential for an issue and make sure to pay extra attention when the machine is cutting in that area. At the same time consider slowing the process slightly. A few seconds lost in cutting speed is better than hours lost replacing a laser head.
The best way to combat part tip-ups is by micro-tabbing. Most laser programming software today offers an auto tabbing feature where one or more small tabs (typically about .020”) are placed in the profile of the part to secure the part to the sheet skeleton. Once the entire nest is complete and the skeleton is off-loaded the parts are broken out of the skeleton. If you have purchased good quality, flat material and the parts are large enough to lay on two or three of the table grates then the need to tab parts is usually unnecessary. Suffice it to say, when in doubt tab; especially if your lasers are automated and operating in a “lights out” environment.