Start Here October '22

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Page 94 of 103 89 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 2 A Note on Laser Power The laser power can be easily regulated by the software, while the maximum power depends on the hardware. Higher laser power offers great flexibility as it allows you to process many different materials and reach higher speeds. Different materials will produce different results that will vary based on the makeup of that material, as well as the color and surface finish. It is important to use the appropriate laser parameters for each material to achieve the best result and to not overpower the material. There is higher risk associated with increased laser power, so it's important to only use what is necessary. Also, the material needs to be flat when dealing with certain models because of how close the head is to the material when processing. —David Stevens, Trotec Laser With higher wattage options comes higher power requirements. Stevens explains, as a rule of thumb, any CO 2 system over 100W will typically require a 220V sup- ply as compared to a 110V. Most large-format machines are avail- able in several electrical configurations that are common in more industrial type buildings, including 230V/single-phase, 230V/three-phase and 460V/three-phase, Kern adds. When upgrading to a larger system, Kern suggests asking your sales- person about processing bed variations. Every material acts differently and the cutting bed, whether it is acrylic slat bed, aluminum honeycomb, or another metal structure, can deliver benefits to your end product. Additionally, make sure to keep enough room around the machine to not only accommodate the operator but to load/unload and perform the maintenance operations required on the machine. MAKING THE MOST OF A LARGE- FORMAT LASER Shops can make the most of their large- format investment by taking advantage of the size and capabilities, says Stevens. "Since laser processing is extremely ver- satile and allows you to process a wide range of materials, consider expanding your business into new industries." For example, if you previously focused on pro- ducing B2B signage and finishing for dis- plays and print materials, you can con- sider incorporating B2C (business-to-con- sumer) applications such as personalized signs and wall decor. Additionally, investing in proper train- ing is worth it. "Not only should your operators learn how to use the machine properly, but they should have in-depth application training," Kern says. You can also refer to your laser company as the sales teams consist of knowledgeable experts in the laser industry. "You are able to engrave anything you put your mind to, minus a few hazardous materials," concludes Smallwood. "Get the word out in the community what you are capable of and let the customers bring you their ideas, and you bring them to life." Ensuring Efficient Fume Extraction Don't forget to clean that air! Image courtesy Kern Laser

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