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Precision couplings eliminate laser cutter misalignment errors

06 February 2014

CadCam Technology, a UK manufacturer of industrial grade flatbed laser cutters and engravers, is using Huco-Flex M (membrane type) precision couplings from Huco Dynatork to help tolerate and compensate for any slight misalignment in its X-axis half drive shafts.

Established in 1985, Nottingham-based CadCam Technology has grown to a position of strength in laser-based cutting and engraving. Around half of the company’s current output is exported via a global network of distributors, supplying machines to all levels of industry, from small architect model makers and education establishments, through to large automotive plants. The accuracy of its machines is legendary; they can even be used to laser-engrave on paper!

The company’s certified Class 1 machines use sealed CO2 lasers that are either water or air cooled. A fine, clean, accurate depth of cut is achieved by software controlled adjustment of both the cutting speed and the power output of the laser.

Closed loop servo motors and hardened ground steel rails provide precision movements with up to 2G acceleration. Thus the performance of the couplings is critical when it comes to shaft alignment.

Huco-Flex M precision couplings feature thin pressed steel membranes; torque is resolved to simple tensile stresses in opposing segments of the membranes. These couplings have near-infinite life and a dynamically balanced construction, which makes them suitable for applications requiring high rotational speed and motion integrity.

CadCam Technology takes advantage of the double stage version of the Huco-Flex M coupling – two membranes gives even greater misalignment capacity. CadCam Technology's purchasing manager, Richard Extall takes up the story:

“The Huco coupling enables the accuracy of the X-axis to be maintained by its action on the drive shaft. This is imperative, as we have to maintain the accuracy of our machines to within 0.025mm. The Huco couplings are reliable, well engineered, cost effective components. They are easy to fit and - to date - we have assembled approximately nine thousand pieces on our FB range of X+Y-axis flatbed laser systems. The couplings have certainly proved their reliability over the years.”

As for the future, Mr Extall says the company would certainly consider using Huco-Flex M couplings on next-generation machines.

“For all our machines, we try to use common components. This enables us to limit and control our internal stock, and also makes a significant number of parts universally acceptable across our machine range,” he concludes.

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