The OEM 100iX is the latest addition to our range of sealed CO2 laser sources. Rated at 1kW, this laser is an extension to Luxinar’s well-established OEM series, providing more power and the ability to process a wider range of materials.
The OEM 100iX increases throughput without sacrificing wavelength stability, beam quality or control. Target markets for this laser include the automotive, packaging and textile industries, although the list of potential applications is endless. In common with the rest of the OEM series, the OEM 100iX is capable of a wide variety of processes including cutting, kiss cutting, drilling and welding.
The laser is designed to be compatible with the robot systems which are extremely common in automotive manufacturing. Automotive plastic applications are the most common, where Luxinar’s lasers are used to remove waste plastic or cut holes and features in car bumpers, spoilers, dashboards, door pillars and headlight housings. Typical materials include ABS/polycarbonate and polypropylene. While these materials are not especially difficult to cut, processing becomes faster with higher power. The OEM 100iX comes into its own when cutting thicker and tougher materials, such as those reinforced with carbon or glass fibres, and the various composites and laminates which are increasingly seen in automotive and aerospace applications these days. In the applications laboratories Luxinar’s engineers have already used the full power of the laser to cut a thick sample of carbon fibre reinforced material received from a customer and achieved results which would not have been possible with lower power.
For the textile industry, the OEM 100iX opens up possibilities such as multi-ply cutting in order to increase speed and throughput. We are well equipped to test these processes in our applications lab, with the laser installed on a flatbed cutting machine. Our applications engineers have often used this system to test fabric and leather cutting applications, with samples coming from both the fashion and automotive industries, as well as technical textiles for various uses. The latter can be particularly difficult to process, as technical materials are often thicker and more densely woven than regular fabrics. They may also contain metallic or carbon fibres for strength and durability. Both make the laser cutting process much more of a challenge; the higher power of the OEM 100iX simplifies this and increases the chance of producing good samples for potential customers.
In the packaging industry, the OEM 100iX can significantly increase process speeds for cutting, kiss-cutting and scoring applications. These applications are not simply about power, however. The latter processes are where the laser’s stability and control come into play. Kiss-cutting and scoring processes must be carefully controlled in order to cut to precisely the correct depth, without perforating or damaging the backing material. With the OEM 100iX, customers can take advantage of the laser’s higher power without sacrificing the precision they require.
The OEM 100iX also presents an attractive proposition for customers in the die board industry. Steel blades are held in laser-cut grooves in plywood to make “cookie cutter” dies. These are extensively used in the packaging industry to cut shapes from card, which can then be folded to produce packaging boxes of all shapes and sizes. The laser-cut grooves must be of consistent width and should have a slight taper to grip the blades firmly. This requires a laser with good beam quality, as well as polarisation and power stability, to give the required degree of control. The OEM 100iX satisfies all these criteria, with the extra power increasing the speed and throughput of the process.
Other applications for the 1kW
The extra peak power of the OEM 100iX is particularly beneficial in drilling applications. In fact, one of the first tasks upon installing the new laser in the Luxinar applications lab was a texturing application, drilling blind holes in a hard resin material. Where it had previously proved impossible to achieve the required hole depth with the OEM 65iX, the additional pulse energy of the OEM 100iX was closer to the customer’s specification.
Since that first application test, our engineers have used the OEM 100iX for a variety of different processes in the lab. Notable examples include the aforementioned thick carbon fibre composite sheet and cutting an aluminium laminate for a customer in the automotive industry. Aluminium is a difficult material to cut with CO2 lasers because it is highly reflective at the CO2 laser wavelength; this means that even thin aluminium sheets can be challenging. In this case our engineers were able to cut the customer’s material at a good speed, and the customer was impressed with the quality of the samples provided. Although metal processing does not represent a large market for our CO2 lasers due to the dominance of fibre lasers in these applications, the power of the OEM 100iX allows the company to seize opportunities when they arise. The 1kW CO2 laser source can cut metals at higher speeds and cut thicker sheet metal than ever before.
In summary, the OEM 100iX is a highly versatile product that can find applications across a wide range of industries. It increases processing power in existing applications and enables new prospects which were previously inaccessible. It is also likely to become Luxinar’s most heavily used laser in the applications lab over the coming months and years.