Modern Machine Shop

JAN 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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Page 72 of 163

Laser cutting and welding capability can make Swiss-type lathes an ideal complement to equip- ment that hasn't traditionally shared space with production machinery. In the right application, a concentrated beam of light can do much of what a mechanical cut- ting tool can do, only better. Under no physical pressure during the machining process, laser-cut metal is precisely defined and clean, and beams can be focused to extremely narrow spot sizes for tiny features and tight corners. Even beyond the lack of chatter-inducing vibration, laser-cutting tends to be faster than mechanical machining as well as non-contact processes like electrical discharge machining (EDM). Altogether, these and other characteristics make the process par- ticularly useful for delicate, high-precision work, particularly surgical tools and implants. This isn't to suggest that laser cutting is always the best option for every feature of a typical med- ical part. That said, mounting one to a precise, f lexible, high-production machine tool (say, a bar-fed Swiss-type lathe) can enable producing much of this work rapidly, in high volumes and from a single setup. That's precisely the idea behind machinery like the LaserSwiss line from Tsugami/Rem sales, says Graham Noake, vice president. What the supplier did not expect was the level of interest from manufacturers that have never before purchased a production metal - cutting machine. Specifically, manufacturers like Northeast Laser & Electropolish, a Monroe, Connecticut-based specialist in laser cutting, welding, marking and engraving as well as electropolishing and passiv- ating. Since installing its first LaserSwiss in 2014, Consolidating Laser and Traditional Machining Modern Machine Shop 71

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