Awards & Engraving

July '16

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20 a-e-mag.com • A&E JULY 2016 LASER ENGRAVING APPLICATIONS ADVANTAGES Speed is the biggest advan- tage of a galvo-based laser. Minchau states that galvo lasers can engrave at 800 characters per second. What does that really mean? An average pen can take as little as one- tenth of a second, says Minchau. As he says: "They are so fast—(it's) mind bog- gling fast." Randy Lusignan, General Manager of TJS Lasers in Sanford, Florida, echoes the advantages of a galvo-based laser. Lusignan says that high performance is a real strength of galvo-based lasers. He also shares that the galvo's ability for "high- accuracy marking, scribing, rapid manu- facturing, trimming (and) engraving" are all advantages. Another advantage of the galvo-based lasers is the extended life span. Because there are virtually no real moving parts, the machines have fantastic lifespans, says Minchau. He also says that "these units are rock solid." I agree with those comments. In our shop, we have had a galvo-based nd:YAG laser for over 15 years and have experienced minimal ser- vice issues in that time. Lusignan adds, "In my 31 years experi- ence in this industry, I have found galvo- anometric scan heads to be very reliable." SERVICING THE GALVO HEAD Other than initial calibration during setup, there is minimal servicing required for the galvo-based lasers. The most impor- tant service issue with a galvo-based laser is keeping the lens clean. "Since there is a long focal length on most galvo machines, smoke and dust cannot reach the lens," says Minchau. "Debris on the head can mean certain death for the lens." The cost of these lenses can range anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000, says Minchau. Hence, replacing one of these lenses is something you want to shy away from. FOCAL DISTANCE AND FIELD SIZE W h e n d e a l i n g w i t h g a l vo - b a s e d lasers, the laser bed is often called the "field size". Typically this field size is circular. The galvo-based lasers can reach outside the circular field, but distortion can occur when engraving outside this circular area. A common field size for IMAGE COURTESY RICHARD KORBYL The yellow shaded area is the optimal space where a galvo-based laser can mark or engrave. Distortion can occur if the laser operator chooses to engrave outside the shaded area. James Minchau of Trotec Lasers says that the speed of galvo-based lasers are "mind boggling fast." The Endeavor galvo-based laser from TJS Lasers comes complete with an enclosed cabinet. IMAGE COURTESY TJS LASER INC. IMAGE COURTESY JAMES MINCHAU

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