Fiber Lasers: Often Overlooked Maintenance

Unfortunately there are several areas that are often overlooked when it comes to keeping your fiber laser operating at peak performance. However all are easily avoidable.

Laser head crashing is often attributed to slat build-up. When cut parts tip up as a result of excess slat you run the risk of the laser head crashing in to that protruding part. This can cause serious damage to the laser head resulting in thousands of dollars for replacement.  When cleaning the lens and lens window be sure to take the time to do it thoroughly and correctly using proper cleaning supplies. Also, while substituting after-market lenses, lens windows, nozzles, insulators, or non-spec consumables might save you a few dollars, in the long run it’s always best to stick with high-quality OEM parts designed especially for your machine.

 Removing Slat Build-Up

There are several companies that offer a motorized tool for removing slag build up from slats.  I’ve also seen companies have moderate success in preventing slag build up by spraying the slats with a solution that is very similar to anti-spatter for welding.  From my experience the best, long term solution is to use copper slats.  While the upfront investment is significant, after 4 to 5 years, when it is time to replace them, you receive a good portion of your money back for the copper scrap.  Another cost saving tip is to make sure that you develop slats that are double-sided so that when the top side becomes too worn, the slat can simply be flipped over.  The reason why the overall height of the slats is so important is because this affects how high the material sits inside of the laser.  When the slats become too short, the laser will experience height sensor alarms when processing thin gauge material because the Z-axis travel is close to exceeding the soft-limits of the machine’s parameters.

Contributed by:
Patrick Medlin
- President, Advanced Technology Sales & Service

ATS
1130 Tarrant Rd.

Greensboro, NC 27409
Tel: 336-393-0030
pmedlin@atsservice.com