The world of today is quickly turning into a highly automated one. Our homes abound in devices streamlining our cooking efforts in the kitchen and adding chic and practicality to our bedrooms and dens. Outside the house, the import of automation is even greater. Robots and machines spare humans as much risk as possible replacing them in dangerous environments or perform repetitive monotonous assignments where not creativity but sheer physical strength and endurance matter. They pack, load, lift, grip, build, and demolish.
Another process that was automated almost entirely is cutting. Of course, we don’t mean slicing sausages or severing a thread while sewing on a button. It doesn’t require any extra exertion so humans can handle it themselves. It is when you have to cut something thicker than a sheet of paper or a loaf of bread that cutting machines step in.
Types of Cutting Machines
As their name suggests, these devices are meant to make cutting various materials a breeze, no matter how thick or hard they are. Broadly, they fall into two main categories.
Manual die cutting machines use a specialized die to carve the material that is fed into them in diverse shapes. Requiring no computer software (or even – imagine that! – electricity) they are foolproof in operation so that they come in a plethora of sizes and modifications – from a small cutter used in schools to an industrial die cutting machine able to cut quite weighty amounts of various materials. However, they have a significant downside: the cutting designs are restricted to the available die shapes. So you will have to procure a whole range of dies to be able to produce the designs you have in mind.
Electronic die cutting equipment relies on elaborate software that tells the machine how to cut the material. For tech-savvy users, such machines are a fantastic boon since they provide access to an unlimited gamut of shapes and sizes that the device can deliver. The cutting tool used in them may be a blade or a laser the choice being conditioned by the nature of the material to be cut.
● Paper Cutting Machine
It can handle all types of paper – from chipboard to scrapbook with cardstock in between. The guises this machine may take are also quite diverse, so you can select the one that suits your purpose to the maximum be it a rotary trimmer, a guillotine or a heavy-duty cutter. After that, you can cut thick stacks of paper to be later used in publishing business or produce nice postcards for your family and friends.
● Wood Cutting Machine
There are several types of such equipment used for woodworking. Thus, depending on the type of task that confronts you one can choose a hydraulic log splitter, a jigsaw, a rotary saw, a cross-cut saw or a chisel mortiser. Once the choice is made go ahead and produce furniture or miniature figurines to prettify your bedside cabinet.
● Metal Cutting Machine
This type has the most challenging task to deal with since metal is one of the hardest materials for processing. Naturally, the variety of these devices is the greatest letting you choose among grinders, lathes, punches, water jets, and many other appliances.
There are other substances that can be cut mechanically including fabric, vinyl, and glass. No matter what the material may be, one thing is imperative for high-quality cutting – and that is precision. The latter is gained through equipping the cutting machine with linear stepping motors.
Linear Stepper Motor
A linear stepper is a device that transforms electric power into mechanical energy. By dividing rotational movement into a certain number of equal steps it achieves positioning precision, high speed, and consistent repetition of motion. Linear stepper motors contain two principal parts – a base (aka platen) and a slider, or a forcer. The latter moves along the base being propelled by a stepper motor linear actuator.
Linear Screw Actuator
Unlike a stepper motor that features a shaft inside its rotating element, a stepper linear actuator contains a nut and a lead screw (hence its another name – a lead screw linear actuator). When the rotor turns the threaded screw moves through the nut (in some models it is the nut that is in motion while the screw stays immovable). As a result, rotation is turned into linear motion right inside the motor which permits the elimination of external components (such as transmission) and thus diminishes the number of surfaces vulnerable to mechanical attrition. Another benefit such a design of the linear stepper actuator incurs is high resolution and minute accuracy that linear screw actuators provide.
The advent of miniaturization trend has brought forth miniature stepper motors with linear actuation that are increasingly used not only in cutting machines but also as parts of various appliances: surveillance cameras, fluid pumps, medical samplers and imagers, blood test machines, and various automated tools.