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Starting out on a Prima Platino

Starting out on a Prima Platino

Starting out on a Prima Platino

Hi, new to the world of lasers here. I come from a CMM programming background.

Our company has a Platino 4000W laser running on Windows NT. We are using SiCam v14.1, from 2003, as a laser software.

We are struggling quite a bit with this laser and software. First of all, SiCam is a pain. What other options do we really have for software?  I've heard conflicting stories already about what we can and cannot do.

On to our current issues with the laser-

Occasionally, on programs with geometry that has been imported into SiCam through DXF instead of drawn in SiCam Geometry, the laser seems to have trouble interpolating the curve and starts cutting giant loops on the material. This behavior is not predictable and sometimes does not rear its head for months. This has led to the company's current policy of deleting and redrawing every curve/radius coming into SiCam through DXF files, which is insanity. Is this a software issue? Is it a hardware issue with the laser not having enough pathing points?

Another huge issue we are having is our inability to cut anything thicker than .125" without having an operator babysit the machine because it senses out so often on minor prehole splatter. (This is mainly with Hast-X material.) If we expand the sensing "window" to avoid the sense-out errors, the machine head just keeps rising and rising until we lose cut and it turns the sheet into a mess. Is this possibly a faulty/incorrectly adjusted sensor? Excuse my ignorance, but how do these sensors even work? Any other tips on this?



RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

Just to tack on two other basic questions here-

We have single nozzles. What is the purpose of a double nozzle?

Also, when people refer to Nozzle gap, is that the same as sheet standoff?

RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

If you redraw the part in SiCam and it works, then you would think the problem comes from the software, and not the machine.
Contact SiCam tech support and see if they can help you.
Otherwise, if you're looking at other software, Lantek and Sigmanest both have good offline programming packages, with posts for many machines.

I don't know how the sensing system works on your machine, so can't help you there.  Sometimes dirt can affect the sensitivity of capacitive sensing systems.  If it's only happening in the piercing area, you could cut your lead-in with the sensing off; then turn it back on once the part begins.  Hopefully your programming software can do that.

Double nozzles are used when cutting mild steel with oxygen.  They'll create a gas flow with a lot less turbulence which results in a smoother cut.

RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

Thanks for the information. I haven't been with the company long enough to see one of these loop cuts. I did end up changing the absolute tolerance used in SiCam and Mastercam to tighten them both up. Only time will tell.

I am still exploring SiCam but I do not see any way to turn the sensor on/off.

Some more basic questions regarding piercing/cut parameters, with these #'s coming off of .1875" Hast-X specifically-

Gas pressure for piercing is 2 bar, and 14 bar for cut. Is this desirable? Lower gas pressure is used for preholing so you don't spray material everywhere?

My focus for piercing is -1, and for cutting is -6.5. Shouldn't my focus be the same for both? If not, why? The current programmer ignores piercing parameters when changing focus, etc for the actual cut.

Standoff (pretty positive this is nozzle clearance) is at 2mm for prehole piercing and .78mm for cuts. Once again, this is to keep clear of material as you core out the prehole?

Thanks again for the help. I've been reading through pretty much every pertinent thread here and it's been helping me fill in the blanks. Are there any other forums/resources on the web for this sort of thing that I could browse through?

RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

Based on the pressure you mention, I take it you are cutting this material with nitrogen.  The piercing is done at lower pressure because it doesn't pierce very well at higher pressure.  It's a lot cleaner and stable at lower pressure.
The focus for piercing with nitrogen doesn't matter that much.  If moving the focus on your machine takes time, then make the piercing focus the same as your cutting focus to gain some processing time.

RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

Oops, forgot to mention assist is Nitrogen.

What other tricks could I try to reduce splatter on prehole and improve the cutting path on .1875 Hast-X here? Some pertinent current parameters are as follows:

Power- 2800
Freq- 190
Duty- 85%

Power 2700
Freq- left blank (CW cut)
Duty- left blank (CW cut - 100%)

As far as what the actual cuts look like, there seems to be excessive splatter from the prehole. There are also decent sharks teeth for burrs along the bottom edge of the part, especially in corners. SiCam does not have a way to modulate power based on current machine speed as has been mentioned on this forum before. I've read about increasing gas pressure to keep the material from forming a sawtooth bottom edge, but 14 seems pretty high already, and since my own knowledge is so lacking, I don't know what other parameters affect this as well.

This is very expensive material and I'm trying to arm myself with as much information as possible before I start tweaking the knobs just to "see what it does." I really appreciate the explanations!

RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

Ended up producing a program that cut loops just yesterday. I was able to dive in and pick it apart. When posting to an .ISO file to send to the laser, SiCam was jumbling up S101 laser start lines with the last few end arc lines, and even entirely leaving out some incremental in-between moves, so the machine was skipping over blocks of combined junk and never coming to the end of the arc.

I analyzed the offending part geometry in detail and redrew it in several CAD systems as well as SiCam itself. The problem wasn't related to where the geometry came from, but instead cropped up every time the features were selected in a certain order when making the path. In other words- it can't be prevented or predicted. I guess every once in a while we'll just win the junk sheet lotto with SiCam!

I know there probably aren't many people out there using this, but I thought I'd post it anyways. Hopefully it helps someone from tearing their hair out or putting in place bogus workarounds like we did.

RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

We have also experienced a "looping" issue, but in our case it seemed to be related to the machine not actually loading the material parameters that were selected and using whatever material was at the top of the list (as far as I could tell anyways). Ended up with giant loops and other weird features, almost as if the part was inside-out.

This tends to occur when changing the material parameters at the machine. Reloading the program has always fixed the issue.

RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

Chally, Try the Applications department. Do you have a plasma restart option detector? Try the Prima NC-Express software. Mega easier. The Applications department can help you. Do you have the Teleservice option so they can dial in and see your issues?

RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

I do not have a plasma restart option detector. That involves what, exactly? The function is that it restarts the laser on sense-out errors? (Which could be dangerous if it isn't a false sense-out..)

We do not have this teleservice option. I'll be talking to applications today, I think.

RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

Teleservice is free, it is an internet connection to the machine/control and we can diagnose many things from the control. The Service Dept has instructions on setting it up and logging in.

I would investigate NC Express as soon as you can. It is a software product developed in 1998 by Finn-Power for all of its equipment and now the Prima Lasers especially the Platino. It will help you with DXF importing, nesting, common line cutting, etc..

Have you had operator and/or programmer training? It will likely get rid of the heartburn of issues.

RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

We have been back and forth with Prima on problem files and their newer version of Si-Cam does not seem to destroy its own posts anymore. Maybe not what I would have gone with, but it retains compatibility with existing programs and also means the owner does not have to learn a new software, which are prime considerations.

Training has been scheduled. A little earlier would have saved me some major headaches, but oh well.

Thanks for your input

RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

I am from sweden,we have two prima domino (3d) since 2005, your problem with sicam is the same as we have,i dont now how many times i phoned italy about these things,but they keep telling me that our dxf files is not correct, but they are wrong,there is something in sicam that is not correct,we have trumf lasers too, with truetops programming and the dxf files works just fine there. the sensor standoff on prehole is 5mm i our machines,it works most of the time,a big problem is if the sensor became warm it doesen`t work properly, in worst case it breaks down,check the airpressure for cooling the sensor,we have it almost on max flow,and if you cut aluminium you have to run calsens quite often.    

RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

Same issue here as well(5year old) Prima Domino w/ SiCam 14.02 one or two parts a month that are heavy on the curves.  Figure Ill update the SiCAM software see how that works..

RE: Starting out on a Prima Platino

I can say that new SiCam is much better and has really sped things up for me, though you still get what you pay for. There are several major bugs in manual nesting specifically that will have you throwing your keyboard occasionally.

Also, be careful about updating OFFMACH on the machine! I updated to the last stable version released for my machine a few months ago. It was much more reliable for complex profiles/allowed the use of lead-ins other than straight, BUT, and this is a big but, any arc with a length of less than 0.008" on a profile, regardless of radius of the arc, would cut as a loop and end the profile cut there. This was so incredibly bad that I had to switch back to the ancient OFFMACH and have been fuming about it ever since. Totally broken.

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