Programming Tip – Matching the laser process and program to variability within the part using the S94P Controller.

By LASERDYNE Applications Group™ (Noah Benson)

All manufacturing processes have some type of variability. Dimensional variability is typical and common in nearly all manufacturing processes. In many cases, the allowable tolerances are determined by a part’s design, performance parameters, manufacturing processes, and the part’s functionality in a larger subassembly or final product. More specifically, within machining processes, the variability of the part within the fixture can easily consume a good portion of the tolerance and impact the quality of the part or subassembly. Having a method to automatically adjust the part program to the part can reduce variability and improve the resulting quality of the process and part.

When laser processing (i.e. welding, drilling, and cutting) with LASERDYNE systems, the S94P controller has built-in axis alignment functions to help address part and fixture variability. In an earlier LASERDYNE Interface article, we presented how SMARTComp™ can be used to help compensate for the part and fixture placement/variability when laser processing parts with a rotary table.

When parts are placed in a static fixture, the S94P controller has a similar function available to help align the machine coordinate system to part. This is the $ALIGN function.

The $ALIGN function can be used to match the program coordinate system to the actual part location by measuring the specified location of 3 points on the part using AFC, OFC2, or the high resolution camera. Then, based on the measure readings, the S94P Controller calculates the adjustments needed to have the coordinate system match the part. $ALIGN helps the machine to better align the program to the part and help compensate for the part variability yielding better quality parts from the laser process.

Please see the program examples below. It is important to note when using any LASERDYNE axis alignment functions, it always good practice to use $NOALIGN at the beginning and end of the part program to ensure the machine returns to the true machine coordinate system.

Part program
{part programming information and code}
{part programming and laser process the part}

If you are using the axis align functions in some part programs but not every part program, it is good practice to put $NOALIGN at the start of all programs that don’t use axis align. This will ensure that the axis align parameters from the previous programs are not carried over to the current program and the true machine coordinate system is used at the start of each part program.


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