Sag Eye Laser Indexing Indispensable in Thermoforming –
We in the thermoforming industry have used sag eye laser indexing for years to cycle or index our machines. A sag eye is a laser beam that is directed thru an oven. To begin, we insert the plastic sheet into the oven and and begin the heating process. The plastic sheet then begins to sag under its own weight. When the sagging sheet breaks the eye’s laser beam, it then indexes to the mold, where it is forming into its final shape. Traditionally we mount these sag eyes in a horizontal orientation, parallel with the heated sheet. For many, this is the preferred method for cycling a machine, as opposed to using a timer or temperature.
Vertical Sag Eye Is Newest Technology
Recently we have had very good results incorporating “vertical sag eyes” into our thermoforming machines. Our thermoforming process engineer, Paul Gleason, was instrumental in implementing use of this vertical laser here at ATI. This technology has allowed us to gain yet another tool for process control and scrap reduction. Vertical sag eyes are a great option for low sag materials or other instances where the sheet sag may not reach the horizontal eye. Low sag materials may not be large enough to clear the clamp frame that holds them. Additionally, other parts of the machine structure can impede the horizontal sag eye beam. The circumstances just described are a perfect situation for a vertical eye. The orientation of the vertical eye puts it under the machine’s oven, thus aiming it up towards the sagging sheet.
Importantly, Associated Thermoforming is always keeping up on the latest technology in thermoforming. Controls like this are key for part to part and run to run consistency, thus providing our customers with a quality product. Do you have a challenging thermoformed part that we can help with? Let’s Get Started Today!