Data collection maintains optimum laser performance for die cutting

Die-cutting machine manufacturer Spartanics is optimising low-cost short runs of custom die-shapes thanks to its collaboration with laser source producer Luxinar.

Spartanics supplies high-speed laser cutting machines worldwide from its base in Illinois, USA, and has integrated a large number of Luxinar’s OEM 45iX CO2 laser sources to cut labels and stickers made of roll-based paper and poly with a wax liner at speeds of up to 100 metres/minute. The company selected lasers as traditional die cutting requires a custom die for every label shape, meaning that the cost per label for short runs can be substantial, and production could be delayed by several days until the die is manufactured.  Replacing the die cutter with a laser allows immediate cutting of any design without needing hard tooling.

In a high-speed environment, where time to market is of the essence, maintaining laser operation at optimum performance is key.  Ron McRae, Software Engineer at Spartanics, explained how their software uses the array of operating data available with Luxinar’s lasers. “Spartanics’ software reads available data from the laser via a network (TCP/IP) connection. This data is then made available to the operator (on demand) via the main operating terminal which monitors the laser status without having to remove machine covers. Having the laser data available within the Spartanics software also allows our service technicians to connect remotely to the machine and monitor the laser behaviour from afar. In other words, in addition to operating the machine itself, Spartanics software also communicates 24/7 with the OEM 45iX laser. By monitoring the internal laser parameters, the operator receives fast notification of any variations in operating parameters”.

Spartanics built each cutting machine using one, two or four of the 450W CO2 lasers.  With optional laser housing and an integrated RF power supply that needs no power cables, additional mounting, wiring, or plumbing, the OEM 45iX provides a compact solution for machine builders. Special applications required of the laser were the ability to produce a small spot size, sufficient power to through-cut poly and paper materials and minimal maintenance.

Tom O’Hara, President of Spartanics, outlined why Spartanics selected Luxinar. “The high cost of traditional dies due to high tooling costs often discourages customers wanting short runs of custom shapes. By integrating Luxinar’s lasers, we can quickly turn around jobs with complex die lines since there is no longer a need to manufacture a physical die.”

He continued, “We were also impressed by Luxinar’s commitment to keep the product available for many years, their short delivery times, and excellent support.”