December 22, 2022
BLOG: Slat cleaners: Should I buy one?
Blog by Steve Haddrell.
Since 1988, when I started in laser cutting, I’ve changed, or have watched the changing of a number of bed support slats.
The facts are that whatever cutting mode you use, the action of the laser ejects material from the slot created and some of the discharge gets deposited on the bed supports.
After a few shifts, this deposit or “slag build-up” becomes noticeable, and if you are loading sheets on to the machine by hand it can scratch the sheet, sometimes making the parts made unsaleable, or requiring significant post cutting operations.
A slat cleaner can remove some of the slag and remove some of the issues related with its build up.
Something else you should consider is that, as part of the processing, you will wear away the slats.
They are by their nature, and by design, sacrificial. The bed gets lower, and it will generally wear unevenly. Getting lower in spots where the most cutting takes place.
Eventually this will impact the cutting process: parts will tip, sheets will move as they are not supported evenly, and in some cases the height follower will struggle to follow the sheet.
A laser user I visited recently had reduced the slats by >25 mm, causing the sheet to bow, this brought major process issues.
Should I buy a slat cleaner? Well on balance, I would say you could, but don’t think that it will remove the need to change the bed supports, as it won’t.
Instead think of it as prolonging the life of the bed and reducing the possibility of damage to sheets and parts you are cutting.
It may delay the inevitable bed change, but not remove it.
Thanks for reading our blogs. If you need any expert advice in the new year, you know where to come.
Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!