01 May 2009
A US company has positioned itself as the only domestic manufacturer of a flat-bed fibre-laser cutting system.
Laser Photonics (Lake Mary, FL) supplies the Titan series of fibre-laser cutting machines, a range of multipurpose flat-bed systems equipped with a high-power fibre-laser and a single-pallet shuttle table. And it is currently the only US manufacturer of such a system, according to the company's marketing manager Maureen McHale.
"Fibre lasers are still a relatively new technology," McHale told optics.org. "They represent a real improvement in technology for a variety of applications, and are becoming the new industry standard. However, many manufacturers and job shops still haven't embraced the technology and cling to their CO2 machines."
The company's expertise in fibre lasers stems from its background in the supply of systems for laser marking, cutting and engraving applications, and experience in working with lasers in R&D environments. "Along the way we acquired an understanding of how to physically build workable systems and incorporate lasers into industrial applications," said McHale.
Other US companies supplying the industrial-laser sector have not embraced fibre lasers in the same way, according to McHale: "Fibre lasers have not historically been a major focus for US manufacturers. Consequently most manufacturers of such systems are European companies, as US suppliers currently do not have the combination of technical knowhow and ability to build the equipment needed."
The only other sources for similar flat-bed fibre-laser machines at present are one Italian and one Indian company (Air Liquide and Addprint India Enterprises), but McHale indicates that they differ from the Titan series in the way they manipulate the workpiece. "The Italian and Indian machines use ball and screw mechanisms, while the Titan employs a linear drive motion system. This allows for higher speeds during cutting, and can deliver the high levels of accuracy and repeatability required in flat-sheet cutting and the flat-panel-display industry."
At present, Laser Photonics claims that its order books remain healthy despite the economic climate. "In the first quarter of 2009 our sales are up by over 250% compared to the total sales volume of 2008. Many manufacturers are using this downturn in the economy to beef up their production lines, and investigate ways to lower their operating costs, use less energy and increase throughput."
These attractions guarantee that Laser Photonics will soon be facing competition in its niche. "We recognize that within the next 5–10 years other US manufacturers will try and compete, but we are pushing to stay ahead of any possible competition," said McHale. "Being the only manufacturer of a product in the US is a big thing."