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The three pillars of laser systems by CMS Laser

News 27.04.2017
CMlaser

The three pillars of laser applications at plastic extrusion lines are undeniably speed, accuracy, and reliability. CMS Laser develops systems for various industries with integrated on-the-spot processing for laser drilling, cutting and marking.

Extrusion of plastics is mass production of a multitude of items from cable insulation and PVC pipes to films, irrigation drip tape, weather-stripping, window frames, and many more. Extrusion process is used across industries from construction and agriculture to medical item production.

Integration of lasers into an extrusion line serves one or multiple ends. Numerous are lines that require marking of product ID, sizing, compliance and traceability made by a laser. Other customers want lasers for hole drilling or slit cutting at preset intervals.

End products may be very different, and still some of laser application requirements are common for many industries. Let us get some insights on how laser systems drive a plastic extrusion line and see why one cannot neglect their benefits.

Speed

Whatever the specific application may be: laser marking, drilling or slitting, speed is crucial for a plastic extrusion line. In 1982, CMS Laser broke new ground with on-the-spot laser systems – which means, to put it simply, that a laser has to fulfil its function while the items being produced are still in motion. The company has been working with its customers ever since on improving the proprietary technology.

When integrating a laser into an existing extrusion line, a key challenge is to harmonize the speed of the laser with that of the whole production line. CMS Laser has freshly reengineered the entire series of on-the-spot systems for laser marking precisely for their integration with high-speed extrusion. The new lasers by CMS Laser deliver reliably at over 1,000 ft/min.

Accuracy

In extrusion line, accuracy goes arm-in-arm with speed: one cannot simply get us the required result without the other. Be it laser marking, cutting or drilling, any action must meet the specifications for the application. Machine vision and dedicated sensors are frequently integrated to laser systems for real-time monitoring of laser positioning and quality analysis.

One example would be the production of irrigation drip tape. This application requires slits made at predefined intervals for adequate water distribution within a farm or a garden. Thus, laser cutting has to be monitored cautiously to exclude the risk of damage to other irrigation drip tape mechanisms.

As for various marking required on the products, it must often be permanent, highly legible, and applied without any additive. This is what makes marking by laser the perfect solution. Machine vision systems and dedicated monitoring software validate the laser marking accuracy dynamically – that is, at the line's speed.

Reliability

Extrusion lines often run 24/7 and rotate continually. Should a particular unit of an extrusion line fail or go wrong, product quality is at stake immediately. This simple consideration makes reliability critical for each line unit. Making a designed laser system robust enough to withstand the rigors of a 24/7 extrusion production is crucial.

These are some common considerations for laser applications in extrusion of plastics. At the same time, one should not neglect that nuances exist within each industry, for each particular product, and with specific customers.

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