Laser cutting brings spacer fabrics into perfect shape

High processing efficiency and finely sealed fabrics

Fused cut edges with maximum accuracy: The use of laser cutting machines when processing spacer fabrics offers a number of advantages over other tools. More and more processors of modern textiles rely on automated, customer-specific systems from eurolaser.

To give textiles certain properties, their manufacturers often combine different materials to create new composites or use special processing methods. In the case of spacer fabrics, the desired effect is achieved by connecting threads (so-called monofilament or pile threads), which hold two layers of fabric at a distance and thus create a third dimension. The result is a stable and at the same time very light-weight cushion, which is characterized by properties such as thermoregulation, very good air permeability and moisture management function. From the automotive and furniture industries to medical technology, there are numerous fields of application in which spacer fabrics are used every day.

The distance makes classic cutting with knife more difficult

Conventional textiles can normally be made up with a knife or a punch without any problems. The difficulty in processing spacer fabrics results from the additional, third dimension of the composite material: As soon as physical pressure is exerted on the fabric with a tool, the individual layers no longer lie neatly on top of one another. Therefore, with classic processes, absolutely precise cutting edges can never be produced. In addition, each edge must be processed in an additional process to prevent fraying.

It is completely different with laser cutting. "The laser cuts completely without contact," explains Alexander Wente, product manager at eurolaser GmbH. “There is absolutely no pressure on the material during processing. This means that the contour can be cut precisely and without distortion, while the laser also fuses the cut edge. In addition, in contrast to a knife or punch, the laser never becomes dull, which enables very good repeatability with consistently high quality.

Easy integration into existing processes

The cutting of spacer fabrics usually only causes problems for industrial manufacturers. The materials are rarely used in private households, but they are increasingly present in everyday life as products ranging from warm winter jackets to chair cushions and knee braces. In order for these end products to function well and fulfill their purpose, however, accuracy and precision are often important during manufacture. "Protruding cut edges or loose pile threads create undesirable additional work and worsen the cost-effectiveness of the entire process", states Alexander Wente from eurolaser. “The simple and high integration of our systems into existing processes is therefore particularly valued by customers.” Eurolaser laser cutting machines can be integrated into almost any existing workflow and quickly provide the desired added value. Thanks to intuitive operation, necessary training times are reduced to a minimum.

Perfect for custom-made products or small series

When processing spacer fabrics, laser cutting is particularly suitable for individual solutions, custom-made products, small series or prototypes. If only a few end products are manufactured, the use of fully automated production lines is usually not worthwhile. As an alternative, laser systems from eurolaser offer maximum flexibility and, at the same time, short processing times. In contrast to a knife or punch, laser systems do not require time-consuming retrofitting, as changes in the contour cut only require the input of new data. In addition, the systems can be supplemented with additional tools such as markers or labelers, so that otherwise additional work steps are integrated into the process. The solutions developed by eurolaser are based on the CNC cutting system from the Swiss manufacturer Zünd, whose tool heads can also be used on the machines.

Customized laser cutting systems

Knitted spacer fabrics come in a wide variety of designs and sometimes vary greatly in terms of their height, color, or material composition. Plastics such as viscose, polyamide, polyester, nylon, polypropylene or polyethylene, all of which can be excellently processed with the laser, serve as the basis. Parameters such as the material thickness or the length of the distance-giving pile threads are relevant for processing, whereby the high flexibility of the eurolaser systems allows perfect adaptation to customer-specific requirements. Laser powers of 60 to 650 watts and maximum processing areas of up to 3,200 x 3,200 mm enable practically all conceivable configurations, regardless of whether 2 or 50 mm thick spacer fabrics are to be cut. The individual modules of the laser cutting machine can be combined individually; if required, a wide range of expansion and upgrade options are available. The options offered by eurolaser for the automation of machine processes, for example using a conveyor or shuttle table, are of particular interest to processors of spacer fabrics.

Conveyor automation

The conveyor system from eurolaser is ideally suited for spacer fabrics that are processed in the form of rolled goods. Available in different sizes, the conveyor is the next step in textile production and can help to implement series or even mass production. The fully automatic material handling and supply via the conveyor belt supports the workflow, ensures precise workpiece placement and consequently avoids any kind of tissue distortion. This allows the machine to work continuously and enables highly efficient processes.

Shuttle table automation

Thicker spacer fabrics in particular are often not processed as rolls but as sheets. In such cases and if smaller contours need to be cut, the shuttle table system is the ideal automation option. The shuttle table from eurolaser with its two movable tabletops doubles the conventional efficiency of the laser. At the same time as the cutting process, employees can load and unload the table so that maximum utilization and high process efficiency are achieved.

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