A specific application of plastic laser cutting is degating molded plastic parts. Separating individual molded plastic parts from the runner at the gate requires precise cut locations. Due to the fixture or process, plastic parts are also sensitive to stress.
Plastic DegatingLaser cutting of plastic gates from injection molded parts
THE DEGATING PROCESS
Due to its non-contact nature, laser technology is a perfect match for plastic degating. Plastic degating machines focus the laser spot onto the precise cut location using any of our plastic laser cutting methods. Laser degating places minimal strain on parts and produces cut edges that don’t require any post-processing.
One of the important aspects of degating is controlling the parts after they are cut free from the gate plastic. Special fixturing or collection processes may be required to control the parts after they are separated. CMS provides complete design and machine shop capabilities for producing the most demanding fixturing applications.
MACHINE VISION & AUTOMATION
Depending upon the accuracy required and the repeatability of any fixturing, a vision system can be used to precisely find the area to be cut and then direct the laser beam to this location. CMS offers integrated software and hardware that makes this process seamless.
Since many of the molded plastic arrays can be larger than the lens field of the laser system, automation may be required to move the array so that all the parts are presented to the laser lens field so they can be cut away from the gates. CMS has 30 years of experience in custom automation in combination with laser processes.
The quality of the cut can be dependent upon what laser wavelength is used for the cutting. Longer wavelengths may cause more “charring” on the part depending on the material. Shorter wavelengths can provide a cleaner cut with little or no charring. The CMS Applications Lab utilizes a wide variety of lasers, optics, and wavelengths to provide samples that match customers’ needs and expectations. Feel free to contact us and submit samples to our lab for a free application and evaluation of your product.
UV Laser Cutting System for Plastic Degating
This two position rotary dial, UV laser degating system was designed for high precision cutting of medical switches. The system acquires cutting location via an integrated vision system to separate injection molded parts with the laser.
- UV Laser Source: Produces no charring at cutting location, leaving a clean edge.
- Through the Optics Vision (TTOV): A camera system shares the same lens as the laser to acquire cut locations for each gate.
- Rotary Table Workstation: Unload/Load fixtures while processing a part inside the machine. Increasing production rate and decreasing laser idle time.
- X-Axis Laser: The laser is able to be positioned directly above processing location.