New Compact, Flexible Laser Machining Center

Dec. 1, 2010
Coherents MetaBEAM uses sealed CO2 lasers to conserve space with no sacrifice in speed

The new MetaBEAM series allows shops to maintain affordable operating costs. Models that use fiber laser technology will be introduced with the same machine design in 2011.

California-based Coherent Inc. has added a new laser machining center to its portfolio. The new MetaBEAM is a compact and flexible designed for processing metals but also capable of cutting and processing other materials. The manufacturer reports that system is capable of high-precision (0.001 in. accuracy) processing of metals using compact, sealed CO2 lasers, but with no sacrifice in process speed.

Because of the sealed CO2 laser source, operators are also able to maintain very affordable operating costs ($2-$3/hour, according to Coherent). Machines using fiber laser technology will be introduced with the same machine design in 2011.

The MetaBEAM laser machining center integrates the machine frame, CNC controller, laser, beam-delivery system, drive system, and laser cutting head into a single, compact structure, with a standard table size of 4×4 ft (1.25×1.25 m) and optional 4×8 ft. (1.25m×2.5 m) size. Coherent also offers a cutting table design that minimizes parts tip-up.

Switching materials or thickness is fast with the MetaBEAM’s focal axis, with a capacitive sensor that accurately maintains the standoff distance from the work piece. The cutting head is protected from any damage by a magnetic breakaway system. Coherent explains that its “building block” concept for the MetaBEAM makes it easy to add automation, including true machine vision, to the standard system. As such, it adapts to shops’ changing needs, capabilities, and opportunities.

Coherent explains that it designs laser-machining centers that will expand the range of users of the laser machining process. Its series of machines is based on affordability, high productivity, size, production speed, and precision characteristics, which make them attractive to laser job shops, fabricators, and diversified manufacturers for large and small production runs and prototyping of mixed materials. Typical products produced by laser machining include medical components; point-of-purchase displays; automotive and aerospace components; electrical enclosures, wood, metal and plastic fabrications; furniture parts; architectural models; and rapid prototypes. Laser machining is also used for engraving.