My family got started in this by happenstance. My dad began the business in ’64. When I graduated from high school, I became involved with the business. Predominately at that point in time it was a custom welding operation. In the summers I began in ’64. [Went to] full-time in 1970. I guess probably the opportunity to do as many varied and diverse things as we have done, I had the opportunity to work with some really great people. Most of my staff is tenured. I’m probably closer to a lot of them to a lot of my family members.
“It is crazy fast.”
“Es muy rápido.”
“It’s real fast. I couldn’t believe how fast it is. We could put out a lot of parts with that.”
“I think it’s the fastest LASER I’ve seen.”
“So unexpected and fast. Scared me a little bit – I jumped.”
“It was like a piranha fish just coming right at you.”
“When I saw how fast it was, I was like ‘Holy s***!’”
“The fiber optic and being able to change the modular out and not be down – I think that’s a big, important thing and their material handling is a pretty nice system also.”
“The speed and the thickness and variety of materials it can cut. The pallet changing system is pretty awesome too.”
“La mesa de intercambio de pales es muy rápida.”
“It was really impressive, how fast it moves. I haven’t seen a machine that moves and cuts as fast as this one.”
“I was actually kind of scared. It was scary. It moves so fast.”
“Very impressive. We have LASERs in our shop that are far smaller. The speed and the quality are just outstanding.”
When cutting a thick plate with lasers, piercing through the material can take a lot of time. Piranha-Whitney has developed a rapid-pierce cycle to minimize the amount of heat and the time required to get the laser beam through the material before you start cutting.
There are two ways to cure thick plate with a laser: one is to blast pierce through it with as much power as you can. This puts a lot of molten material on the surface of the plate and can compromise your cutting lens and your cover slides. The other way is to put low power into the plate for a long period of time. This can take up to 15 seconds in 1-inch plate and put a lot of heat into the material.
One of the big advantages of the Piranha-Whitney 12-kilowatt fiber laser cutting system is its ability to use nitrogen and cut a steel plate up to five eighths of an inch thick. When you cut with nitrogen, you eliminate the oxide edge that occurs when you cut with oxygen. This saves your time by eliminating the downstream secondary operations required to clean that oxidation off the edges of cuts.
Piranha-Whitney 12kW Fiber LASER – High Tech Construction
Piranha-Whitney uses polymer granite instead of steel for our machine bases. Polymer granite is heavier, more rigid, and most importantly, not susceptible to any kind of thermal changes. This makes our machines much more reliable and much more stable at the high speeds and accelerations that we can achieve.
The cutting head on the 12-kilowatt plate laser is a sealed unit. To handle 12,000 watts of the laser power, Whitney uses a reflective cutting head. Reflective cutting heads use specialty ground copper mirrors to replace the collimating and focusing lenses. Copper mirrors are internally cooled, allowing cooling to take place much more efficiently, eliminating prospective hot spots from contamination. With direct cooling, the mirror surface does not thermally distort. Transmissive optics, on the other hand, use lenses instead of mirrors. Lenses are cooled from the edges, yet the beam goes through the center of the lens. So when using high-power – 6000 watt and above – even the slightest contamination within the beam cap on the a lens will create a hotspot, causing distortion of the lens and a resultant shift in the focal point. This in turn yields unacceptable cut quality or cutting head failure.
The Piranha-Whitney 12-kilowatt plate laser is not only powerful, it’s also very smart. Whitney uses material parameter libraries, or MPLs, built into the CNC control. These MPLs control everything from peer cycles, to complex contouring geometry.