Proper laser maintenance can ensure that your laser is performing at its highest degree, and a well-maintained laser can have a longer working life than a laser that isn’t thoroughly cared for. Some fabricators watch maintenance fall low on the priority list, and once out of sight, it’s out of mind.
Of course, businesses have plenty of responsibilities and other obligations, but equipment maintenance is perhaps one of the most important and overlooked liabilities. Further, without scheduled downtime and routine maintenance, an unseen problem can easily spark multiple complications without anyone knowing which of the numerous variables are causing it, costing time and productivity. Here are four areas of laser maintenance to remember to help ensure proper function and high efficiency.
1. Check Your Machine’s Optics
Out-of-spec optics can affect many different aspects of functionality for your machine: mode quality, beam quality, cutting performance, and optics life can all be impacted. To keep your machine’s optics in check, you can use beam analyzers and profilers. These tools can measure beam characteristics instantaneously as the laser beam passes through the system.
2. Watch the Purge Air
The laser machine uses an assist gas, and if your gas of choice is shop air, it’s vital that you make sure the air is free of contamination or moisture. The lines have to always be clean, and the system should have proper air pressure and filtrations. The lines and compressed-air source should be checked every month to ensure that you aren’t letting contaminated air damage the cutting performance, life, and overall productivity of the machine.
3. Monitor Chiller Performance
The chiller’s temperature gauge should be monitored quite often; refrigerant leaks and other problems can set off internal equipment alarms that power down the machine, and temperature fluctuations can lead to a damaged resonator. After periods of being idle, the chiller may also build up conductivity, which can prevent the resonator from starting. Thus, it’s important to always clean condenser coils and filters, monitor the temperature gauge and water level and run the chiller unit before cutting after a long break to ensure your chiller functions properly.
4. Keep the Equipment Clean
It might seem pretty obvious that your machinery needs cleaned, but many areas can be easily overlooked and become dirty, negatively impacting the machine’s performance. Always clean every inch of your machinery, including processing areas, support slats, scrap drawers, slugs, and pallet ways to keep them looking well-maintained and functioning as such.
Routine maintenance is beneficial in many ways to a manufacturer: it decreases downtime, improves production quality, reduces wasted time, extends equipment lifespan, and saves you money in expensive repairs and low productivity. Don’t neglect what seems to be run-of-the-mill duties that don’t have an immediate payoff. Practice preventative maintenance for the betterment of your business and the well-being of your machinery. To learn more, check out Gerber – MCT for their expertise and other solutions for your business.