developers invented the SmartGate; two slides
that move synchronously with the cutting head.
The two slides also can change their distance
from each other to create different-sized gaps
into which the laser beam is focused. Because of
this design, the sheet is securely supported during the cutting process, and small parts measuring up to 160 mm by 160 mm can be simultaneously ejected downward.
According to the company, this new machine
involved rethinking many different processes,
from the movement of the cutting head and table
to allow more precise cuts to sorting capabilities and processing. For example, both suction
plates and pins are used in the part-removal
process, allowing the sorting of parts as small
as a credit card.
Bending Better to Beat the Bottleneck
As Bystronic’s head of business unit markets,
Johan Elster noted that this continued drive for
increased speeds in lasers has necessitated further automation throughout the manufacturing
process. For instance, the possibility of bottlenecks at press brakes on a shop floor becomes
much more pronounced with such rapid blank
processing by today’s modern laser cutting
Many companies at the show had newly
developed tool changers on their press brakes.
For instance, SafanDarley premiered its E-Brake
200T 4100 ATC, a servo-electric brake with an
automatic tool changer, a 200-ton pressing force,
and a working length of 4,100 mm. The tool
changer is integrated into the machine frame,
resulting in a footprint no bigger than the company’s standard electric brake. Bystronic and
TRUMPF also demonstrated brakes with automatic tool changers.
Bystronic had another innovative concept
involving robotic bending: a mobile bending
robot (see Figure 3). At the show, the robot was
attached to the company’s small Xpert 40 press
brake. This robot can be brought into service to
handle repetitive bending jobs, and when such
jobs are not in production, it can be pulled away
from the brake. The unit then can be operated
Being able to react quickly and flexibly to
manufacturing needs is just as important as
relying on modern press brakes to bend parts
quickly. Time is of the essence. To assist metal
fabricators looking to obtain specialty tooling
Figure 1—As the power increases on fibre lasers, like Amada’s 9-k W
power source on its LCG 3015 AJ laser cutting machine, metal
fabricators have to reconsider the adage that fibre lasers are only
good for cutting thin sheet metal. These more powerful fibre lasers
are cutting plate at faster speeds than previous generations, and
they are delivering edge quality that meets most customer
Figure 2—TRUMPF’s TruLaser Center 7030 works with a TruDisk
solid-state laser and with 6 k W of laser power. Developers spent
time designing the machine to address waste associated with part
collisions during laser cutting that shut the machine down and
refinishing parts to remove microtabs and spatter often found on the
undersides of components after laser cutting.
Figure 3—A robot is placed in front of an Xpert 40 press brake from
Bystronic to demonstrate the flexibility of the bending cell. After a
large, repetitive bending job is done, the robot can be moved, and
the press brake can be used for manual operations.