Stone-Etching Laser Devices

It’s been more than two years since Stone Business took a look at laser-etching machines for stone and – like other items of automated production – models are getting larger and more-powerful.

Not every manufacturer made large changes since our last survey in May 2005. Some offer the same machines ... and others totally revamped the offerings. What’s consistent, however, is that there’s a size and price for any production need and budget.
Many of the machines come to the stone arena from other industries, particularly the awards-and-engraving (also called recognition) industry. The machines made for that sector often deal with smaller goods, such as pens and trophy plaques, along with smaller stone pieces.
For this survey, a machine had to have a production area – the space where the laser can do its work – of at least 12” X 12”. There’s also a listing for the amount of weight a machine can handle, since there’s more bulk to a monument or 2 ft(2) marble tile than a commemorative acryilc award.
The weight capacity is key for any laser-etching machine; it’s noted under “Z-axis table movement” in the listings. To change variables with the laser, including resolution and etching effectiveness, the process involves moving the worktable closer or farther away from the location of the laser – exactly the opposite of, say, a CNC production center.
There’s also an indication of machine design. A flatbed has an open-gantry configuration much like a CNC; an enclosed cabinet puts everything inside a contained space, mainly for safety at close quarters.
Some of these enclosed units have ways to slide larger, longer pieces through the machines. This also involves doing a job in stages, depending on the working (production) area of the laser, in a tiling routine of etching consecutive smaller sections form a larger image.
It’s worth noting that many manufacturers offer a print driver for software. All the machines use lines (or vectors) as a pattern for output; instead of using specialized software, the lasers can take data (and laser setting) directly from vector-based graphics software, most notably Corel Corp.’s CorelDRAW®.
Other software from the engraving industry, like PhotoGraV from ImageLaz LLC  can address other needs, such as creating a halftone-dot effect for reproducing photographs.
Some companies also get their laser engravers from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), such as GCC in Taipei, Taiwan. LaserProUSA machines are manufactured by GCC, for example; similar models are available with the Pinnacle™ nameplate from Engravers Warehouse.
Models can change, and prices can vary at any time. For the latest information – and before making any purchase commitment – always contact manufacturers at the telephone numbers or Websites provided with each listing.
The information provided is from surveys distributed to manufacturers in late 2007, along with additional research by Stone Business staff.

ADSI (Allen Datagraph Systems Inc.)
Derry, N.H.
LE Series

Price: $39,000-$80,000       
Laser: CO[2]
Power range (W): 30-100
Configuration: Flatbed
Maximum material size/production area: 4’ X 4’ to 5’ X 12’
Maximum materials weight accepted: Unlimited
Range of resolution (dpi): 75-300.
Data interface: Serial, USB.
Software included: Yes (Allen software)
U.S.-based repair and maintenance: Yes       
Other notable features: U.S.-made, full-function control joystick, multiple-job queue.
Contact: ADSI, 603-216-6344; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.adsi-usa.com

CAM TECH INTERNATIONAL INC.
Calgary, Alberta
L5 Laser Master
L20 Laser Master
L30V Laser Master


Price:    $42,000-$120,000+
Laser: CO[2]
Power range (W): 10-200
Configuration: Flatbed
Maximum material size/production area: 78” X 150” (Larger production areas available.)
Maximum materials weight accepted: 400 lbs. per 4’.
Z-axis table movement: Manual lens focus
Range of resolution (dpi): Vector to 1,200.
Data interface: Ethernet, serial, USB.
Software included: CMC4 Controller, Corel® Suite X3, PhotoGraV, TPCWin (vector cutting).       
U.S.-based repair and maintenance: Yes       
Other notable features: Air-bed material handling, custom sizes, I-Cut, liquid cooling, removable beds, router-spindle upgrades, scrubbers.
Contact: CAM Tech International Inc, 800-514-8188. www.camtech.ca

EPILOG LASER
Golden, Colo.
Mini 18
Mini 24
Helix
Legend EXT


Price: Systems starting at $9,995.   
Laser: CO[2]
Power range (W): 25-120.
Configuration: Enclosed cabinet
Maximum material size: 18” X 12” (Mini 18); 24” X 12” (Mini 24); 24” X 18” (Helix); 36” X 24 (Legend EXT).
Production area: Same as maximum material size
Maximum materials weight accepted: Table lifting capacity of 25 lbs. (Mini 18, Mini 24); 30 lbs. (Helix); 40 lbs. (EXT).
Z-axis table movement: Automatic
Range of resolution (dpi): User-selectable 75, 150, 200, 300, 400, 600, 1200.
Data interface: Ethernet, USB.
Software included: Epilog Laser Print Driver
U.S.-based repair and maintenance: Yes       
Other notable features: Air assist, auto focus, emergency stop button, inside focus button, integrated vacuum hold-down table, integrated vector grid, linear encoders, moveable home position, NeverWear™ stainless-steel bearings, permanent job storage, Radiance™ high-energy optics, red-dot pointer, servo motors, standard advanced print driver, Waveguide laser tubes.
Contact: Epilog Laser, 888-437-4564; www.epiloglaser.com

GRAVOGRAPH
Duluth, Ga.

LS800
LS900


Laser: CO[2]
Power range (W): 25-80 (800); 30-80 (900).
Configuration: Enclosed cabinet
Maximum material size/production area: 12” X 24” (800); 24” X 24” (900).
Maximum materials weight accepted: 55 lbs.
Z-axis table movement: Programmable
Range of resolution (dpi): 50-1200
Data interface: Parallel, serial.
Software included: Can be purchased as option.
U.S.-based repair and maintenance: Yes       
Other notable features: Drop-door front, upgradable laser source, integrated drivers (standard); alternate lenses, integrated compressor, integrated exhaust system (optional).
Contact: Gravograph, 800-843-7637; www.gravograph.com/usa

KERN ELECTRONICS AND LASERS INC.
Wadena, Minn.
24” X 24” table
52” X 25” table (Standard, HSE)
52” X 50” table (Standard, HSE)
52” X 100” table (Standard, HSE)  


Price: From $44,900
Laser:  CO[2]
Power range (W): 30-100 (24” X 24”); 30-150 (Standard); 50-400 (HSE)
Configuration: Flatbed (all models)
Maximum material size and production area: Same as table size (all models)
Maximum materials weight accepted: 4,000 lbs. (Standard, HSE)
Z-axis table movement: Manual or automatic (all models)
Range of resolution (dpi): 50-2,000 (all models)
Data interface: Ethernet
Software included: KCAM cutting/engraving
U.S.-based repair and maintenance: Yes       
Other notable features: Laser cooling with >100W power, vacuum table (all models); open-table design (Standard, HSE); multiple-laser option (Standard); engraving speed up to 150”/second with 5G acceleration (HSE).
Contact: Kern Electronics and Lasers Inc., 888-660-2744; www.kernlasers.com

LASERPROUSA
Morgan Hill, Calif.
C180
Spirit
Spirit GE
Spirit GX
Explorer II


Price: $10,000-$43,000
Laser: CO[2]
Power range (W): 12-100
Configuration: Enclosed cabinet.
Maximum material size: 18” width X any length (C180); 29” x any length (Spirit); 38” X any length (GE); 38” X any length (GX); 38” X any length (Explorer).
Production area: 12” X 18” (C180); 18” X 29” (Spirit); 18” X 38” (GE); 24” X 38” (GX); 20” X 38” (Explorer).
Maximum materials weight accepted: 110 lbs. (greater weight requires additional support)
Z-axis table movement: Manual and automatic.
Range of resolution (dpi): 125 -1000.
Data interface: Serial, USB.
Software included: Print driver
U.S.-based repair and maintenance: Yes       
Other notable features: Automatic Tiling Function for tile murals, high-speed engraving, origin modes (4), pen settings (16), raster/halftone manipulation, red-dot pointer.
Contact: LaserProUSA, 866-4-LAZERS; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.laserProNA.com

OMAG
Zanica, Italy
U.S. representative: Salem Stone, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Omag LP-2002
Lasimark/20
Lasimark/40
Lasimark/60


Laser: CO[2]
Power range (W): 20 (Lasimark/20); 40 (Lasimark/40); 60 (Lasimark/60).
Configuration: Enclosed area (LP-2002)
Production area: 39.34" X 59.05" X 5.9" (LP-2002)
Z-axis table movement: Table is fixed; gantry, carriage and head move with ballscrew and linear guides driven by brushless AC motors (LP-2002).
Range of resolution (dpi): 500
Data interface: Ethernet, serial.
Software included: Lasicron
U.S.-based repair and maintenance: Yes
Other notable features: Optional milling mead for engraving; text letter engraving software; five double-sided vacuum blocks (LP-2002).
Note: Lasimark units are laser-tool attachments that can be fitted on any CNC machine and the LP-2002.
Contact: Salem Stone, 800-234-1982; www.salemstone.com

TROTEC LASER INC.
Ypsilanti, Mich.
Speedy 100
Speedy II
Professional
FineMarker
FineMarker Hybrid
FP100
Professional


Price: $11,500-$19,000 (Speedy 100); $19,995-$50,000 (Speedy 300); $58,995-$110,000 (Speedy 500); $57,500-$74,950 (Finemarker); $75,500-$119,000 (Professional); $45,000-$50,000 (FP100).   
Laser: CO[2] (Speedy series, Professional); YAG (FineMarker); CO[2] and YAG (FineMarker Hybrid); fiber (FP100).
Power range (W): 12-45 (Speedy 100); 12-120 (Speedy 300); 45-200 (Speedy 500); 10-20 (Finemarker, FP100); 45 (Hybrid); 65-400 (Professional).
Configuration: Flatbed
Maximum material size: 12” X 24” to 51” X 51”
Production area: 12” X 24” (Speedy 100, FP100); 17” X 29” (Speedy 300); 28” X 49” (Speedy 500); 17” X  28.5”  (all Finemarker models); 51” X 51” (Professional).
Maximum materials weight accepted: 22 lbs. (Speedy 100, FP100); 44 lbs. (Speedy 300, all Finemarker models); 55 lbs. (Speedy 500, Professional).
Z-axis table movement: Automatic, manual and programmable (all models).
Range of resolution (dpi): 125-1000 (all models)
Data interface: Serial, USB
Software included: Trotec JobControl
U.S.-based repair and maintenance: Yes   
Other notable features: Air assist, electrically integrated fume-exhaust system, honeycomb cutting table, InPack Technology™ (dust/smoke protection), rotary engraving device, supporting frame with storage bin, vacuum table, one- to three-year warranty.
Contact: Trotec Laser Inc., 866-226-8505; www.troteclaser.com

UNIVERSAL LASER SYSTEMS INC.
Scottsdale, Ariz.
VersaLaser (VLS2.30, VLS3.50)
Professional Laser Series (PLS3.60, PLS4.60, PLS6.60, PLS6.120D)
Industrial Laser Series (ILS9.150D, ILS12.150D)



Price: From $7,495
Laser: CO[2]
Power range (W): 10, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60 and 75 (lasers can be combined in some systems for up to 150)..
Configuration: Enclosed cabinet (CDRH Class 1 laser safety enclosure, ILS systems convertible from Class I to Class IV systems with pass-through capability).
Maximum material size/production area: Up to 48” length x 24” width.
Maximum materials weight accepted: 20 lbs. (VersaLaser series); 40 lbs. (PLS models); 60 lbs. (ILS models)
Z-axis table movement: Automatic (all models)
Range of resolution (dpi): 1,000 (all models)
Data interface: USB (all models); Ethernet (selected models with optional embedded computer).
Software included: Print driver
U.S.-based repair and maintenance: Yes       
Other notable features: Advanced materials-based print driver that automatically sets power, speed, resolution, PPI, page size and focus points; company manufactures own CO[2} lasers.
Contact: Universal Laser Systems Inc., 800-859-7033; www.ulsinc.com

VYTEK
Fitchburg, Mass.
Axiom
FX series (FX5136, FX5151)
FX2 series (FX22412, FX23624, FX25124)
GL series
GX series (GX4496, GX610)
L-Star series (LST4496, LST610)
LS series (LS3048, LS3648, LS4496)
MX series (MX2412, MX3624)


Price: From $25,000       
Laser: CO[2] (FX, FX2, GX, L-Star, LS); YAG/fiber (Axiom, GL, MX).
Power range (W): 35-200 (CO[2] models); from 5 (YAG/fiber).
Configuration: Enclosed cabinet and flatbed (both are available).
Maximum material size/production size: 6’ X 10’ (8’ X 12’ manufactured per customer request)
Maximum materials weight accepted: 500 lbs. (FX2); 4,000 lbs. (L-Star).
Z-axis table movement: Automatic and manual (model-dependent).
Range of resolution (dpi): Up to 1,200 (150-300 recommended).
Data interface: Ethernet.
Software included: Can be purchased as option.
U.S.-based repair and maintenance: Yes       
Contact: Vytek, 978-342-9800 (X405 for CO[2], X404 for YAG/fiber); This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (CO[2]), tThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (YAG/fiber), www.graniteart.com

XENETECH
Baton Rouge, La.
1325 XLT
1325 XLE
2436 XLT
2436 XLE

   
Laser: CO[2]
Power range (W): 30, 40, 60, 80, 100 and 200.
Configuration: Enclosed cabinet
Maximum material size/production area: 13” X 25” X 10” (1325 systems); 24” X 36” X 10” (2436 systems). (Cabinets can be opened for pass-through of larger items; Class IV laser safety requirements must be followed by operators.)
Maximum materials weight accepted: 150 lbs. static, 75 lbs. in motion.
Z-axis table movement: Automatic and manual.
Range of resolution (dpi): 50-1200
Data interface: Ethernet
Software included: Xenetech Graphic Workstation   
U.S.-based repair and maintenance: Yes       
Other notable features: 10” of Z-axis clearance; color-coded removable optics for easy maintenance; engraving speeds up to 150 inches per second; lifetime bearing warranty; multiple auto-focus methods;  touchscreen control panels with built-in job preview; recall jobs from host compuyer; tables driven vertically on three leadscrews;  Xenetech Graphic Workstation 32-bit engraving production software and Windows 32-bit print driver for third-party software.
Contact: Xenetech, 225-752-0225; www.xenetech.com       

This article first appeared in the January 2008 print edition of Stone Business. ©2008 Western Business Media Inc.