Chiller and Temperature Control for Laser Technology at FABTECH 2019

FABTECH is North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event. Held at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, FABTECH 2019 closed with a record total of 48,278 attendees from 95 countries. Three massive exhibit halls featuring more than 1,700 exhibitors with more than 500 new products being revealed allowed attendees to see the emerging trends and technologies influencing the future of manufacturing. Attendees also had access to more than 175 educational sessions with 15 technology tracks, expert-led presentations, FABx Tech Talks in the style of TED Talks, even a head-to-head welding tournament. Many booths featured hands-on displays and live product demonstrations.

One of three large exhibit halls at FABTECH 2019.

Chillers for Laser Cutting Systems

Most laser cutting systems require two different chilled water temperatures. A lower temperature is needed for the water that chills the resonator (also known as the oscillator) - the component that generates the actual laser. A higher temperature is needed for the optical system that guides, bends or deflects the laser from the resonator through the lense and the nozzle, to the work piece being cut.

Another key performance indicator of chillers for laser cutting systems, is water temperature tolerance. Most laser cutting systems require very tight chilled water temperature tolerances for both the resonator and the optics.


Chiller Technologies on Display

Chase Cooling Systems Chase Cooling Systems revealed their Laser Series dual-temperature chiller, designed to accommodate the varying heat load of each side of the laser cutting system at once. The Laser Series has dual cooling circuits in a single chiller with cooling capacities from 1.6 to 6.0 tons (water inlet 77 °F, water outlet 68 °F, ambient 86 °F). The Laser Series chillers from Chase can achieve the tight temperature tolerance of ±1.0 °C needed for the optics, and can also achieve an even tighter temperature tolerance of ±0.1 °C for the resonator.

Michael Ferris (Delta Industries), Massimiliano Parisi, Chip Miller, Phil Shaver and Mark Honath from Chase Cooling Systems (left to right).

A Chase Laser Series chiller installation at the CYLASER booth.

One of two SMC booths at FABTECH featured the circulating fluid temperature controller Thermo-chiller HRL series. The HRL Series also has the capability of providing the two different temperatures for the oscillator and the optics with just one chiller versus two. The chiller is also capable of maintaining a ±0.5 °C water temperature tolerance for the optics, and even tighter tolerance of ±0.1 °C for the resonator. Available in three models, the HRL100, 200 and 300 models have cooling capacities from 9, 19 to 26 kW respectively (2.56, 5.4 to 7.39 tons). The chillers use R-410A refrigerant to reduce footprint, and can reduce power consumption by over 30 percent compared to a two-unit-system.

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