Maximize Laser Processing with 2D Programming

Increase your laser-cutting efficiency by implementing these three software programming techniques

By Tim O’Donnell, Software Supervisor at Mazak Optonics Corp.

Software is often an overlooked and underutilized tool for helping the laser machine achieve increased utilization and efficiency. Mazak Smart System offers a variety of functions that assist with maximizing flat sheet processing. Three software techniques to increase your laser-cutting efficiency include heat avoidance for thicker material, programming to cut parts with open profile geometry, and automatically applying different cutting conditions and speeds for different materials.

Heat Avoidance

Utilizing heat avoidance automates the cutting sequence in Mazak Smart System to minimize heat-build up in the material when processing thicker plate with oxygen assist to allow for more consistent processing over the entire sheet.

  1. Once the nest has been created, in “Nest” mode, select “Profiling" 
  2. Select “Automatic Tooling” and the “Automatic Tooling” popup window will appear
  3. Select “Advanced” and check the box next to “Avoid heat buildup” 
  4. Select the “Heat Avoidance” option and you can now specify settings for distance to avoid (Heat radius) and length of time to stay out of that radius area (Cooling time).  If running the software in inches, the distance is in inches and the cooling time is in seconds:
  5. Finally, you can either “Apply” to utilize this sequencing when the system applies tool path onto that particular nest only OR you can select “Settings” in the lower right corner and use “Save settings to manufacturing database” and it will utilize this functionality for that material type and thickness automatically moving forward.

Open Profile Geometry

There may be a need to laser cut a geometry feature that is not a closed profile. This can easily be done in the Mazak Smart System software.

  1. In Part mode (Part > Drafting), after drawing or importing the part in, specify the closed profiles in the pen color (1 or 2) you wish to use. You may now assign the pen/cutting condition to use for the open profile features.
  2. Select “Edit Properties” and a popup window will appear:
  3. Click the box to the left of “Pen” and set the pen number to “9”: 
  4. Now using the Selection Settings along the left side, select those open profile features you wish to cut and the pen color/cutting condition will change accordingly.
  5. Save the part as a symbol file and nest. Now, when you apply tool path onto the part as part of nesting, you will see the software has automatically applied a center offset cut path onto the open profile feature(s).

Applying different cutting conditions/speeds automatically

Often when laser cutting, not all features can be cut utilizing the same cutting condition. Smaller features may need to use the medium condition to minimize heat buildup when cutting. This can be configured automatically in the Mazak Smart System software.

  1. Open “Nest” and “Profiling”
  2. Select “Automatic Tooling” and the “Automatic Tooling” popup window will appear
  3. Select “Rules and Style”, then “Edit” and the “Auto-Tooling Rules and Styles” window will appear:
  4. Now, in the top half of this popup, you can select the Medium and Large Profiles Rules and then define the Minimum and Maximum size thresholds for the geometry as well as the Profile Type and Cutting condition to use:
  5. Then select “Settings” in the lower right corner of the popup and select “Save Settings to Manufacturing Database” so the software can then automatically apply this data onto the tool path of any nests generated moving forward. In the example below, the maximum geometry size for a feature to use Pen 2 was set to .25” and then saved. When a nest of that material type and thickness was then created and tooled, the software automatically changed the cutting conditions of the 0.2” diameter holes to pen/cutting condition #2 as they were under the .25” maximum size to use that cutting condition. The other features, being larger were assigned pen #1/cutting condition #1.

By implementing these three Mazak Smart System operations, you can increase the laser machine's utilization and efficient, all through software. 

For additional assistance, please contact the Mazak Software Department at 1-888-MAZAK-US.

About Mazak Optonics Corporation

Mazak Optonics Corporation is a major supplier of laser-cutting systems, offering 50 laser models and leading the industry in the implementation of emerging laser technologies. The company’s 50,000 sq. ft. North American Headquarters are located in Elgin, Illinois, and feature a 30,000 sq. ft. laser technology center housing up to 18 machines for demonstrations and training. Mazak Optonics is part of Yamazaki Mazak Corporation (Oguchi, Japan), the global leader for the manufacture of machine tools and systems for the precision machining of metal parts, including CNC turning centers, horizontal and vertical machining centers, Multi-Tasking machining centers, turnkey cells and software solutions. The North American Headquarters for Yamazaki Mazak are located in Florence, Kentucky. For more information on Mazak Optonics’ products and solutions, visit www.mazakoptonics.com, email sales@mazaklaser.com or call 847.252.4500.