9 min read

Fiber laser, robot handling, Active Tools, programming software: The strengths of LT-FREE

Sep 17, 2019 1:19:44 PM

LT-FREE is a 3D laser cutting system that processes all three-dimensional metal parts: curved, hydroformed, preformed, pre-welded, drawn, flat and/or stamped sheet metal. 

Here are some of the main features of the machine:

  1. IPG Fiber laser: Proven for cutting medium to thin metal profiles and for very reflective materials, such as stainless steel, copper alloys and aluminum. It guarantees efficiency and does not require special maintenance. IPG is also recognized as one of the best manufacturers of this technology on the market (the first fiber laser in 1963).

  2. Active Tools: Automatic solutions for managing cutting parameters and improving the production process, these features provide better quality cuts from all points of view.

  3. Programming: LT-FREE can be programmed off-line using the ArtCut programming software and implements an easy-to-use interface common to all the other systems made by BLM GROUP.


Find out how easy it is to start production with LT-FREE



How to start production with LT-FREE

This is the procedure for going from a STEP file of the profile to be created to the cut part. Operators with minimal experience can easily operate the system.

Programming on Artcut

  • Import any workpiece: tubular profile, hydroformed, drawn or stamped.
  • Generate the workpiece program, automatically avoiding collisions. During simulation, ArtCut shows and considers the presence of all the components of the work cell, including robots, tables, machine structure.
  • Generate the robot program: ArtCut automatically defines the cutting positions of the robot, which can be moved by drag & drop.
  • Automatically manage bent tube scraps and/or automatically create support fixtures.


Sending the program to the machine

  • Set the workpiece position in space using the simple guided point indexing. Specific functions are available for indexing bent tubes.
  • At this point, you can move on to cutting the actual part starting production in complete safety

Find out how easy it is to use Artcut


What are the applications of LT-FREE?

3D laser technology is spreading to a wide variety of production sectors because it has overcome many of the limitations of other technologies.

Not all 3D laser cutting systems can offer the same level of performance and opportunities, especially when high flexibility is required. The ability to produce prototypes, small-medium batches and rapid changes are some of the typical production needs that more and more manufacturers are confronted with every day.

Let's see many have chosen LT-FREE.


New call-to-action


The tube world

Tube are used in a comprehensive variety of applications, including exhaust systems, frames, large or small components, design parts, system engineering, to name a few. In principle, a subcontractor who chooses LT-FREE can expand into new industry sectors, increasing business opportunities. Manufacturers, on the other hand, may be looking for new innovative ways of producing.


tubo tagliato con lt-free dopo curvatura
Example of tube cut with LT-FREE after bending


Those who have chosen LT-FREE for the machining of bent tubes have generally done so to:

  • Achieve a lower total cost per part
  • Improve safety at work
  • Reduce direct labor
  • Reduce the number of dedicated tools
  • Reduce intermediate and semi-finished product stock

These are the elements that make the difference:

  • Robot handling: This allows the workpiece to be positioned properly, so that it can be cut and trimmed without ever interrupting the machining process. It eliminates semi-finished products and maximizes accuracy.
    A few examples:
    • A bent tube almost always requires at least two cutting positions. The robot repositions the tube automatically without handling improving accuracy and repeatability.
    • The robot orients the bent tube under the cutting head to achieve the proper feature shape and taper even close to the bend sections, for instance.

    In the HIGH FLEX and ONE FLEX LT-FREE configurations, robot programming is completed through the machine software. There is no need for dedicated programming other than via Artcut. The operator only needs to transfer the program to the machine. See all LT-FREE configurations

  • Starting production on the machine: once the program has been transferred, LT-FREE knows what to do. It acquires the robot programs directly from ArtCut and once the necessary points have been identified to define the position of the tube in space, the operator will be ready to start production.

  • Automatic anti-collision: In 3D laser cutting, the cutting paths generally cover the entire tube, which tends to increase the risk of collisions. ArtCut automatically calculates the best paths to avoid collisions between the laser head and the tube or robot.
Find out the value of BLM Group



Hydroformed part: a new way of working

The main advantages of LT-FREE in the processing of hydroformed products are:

  • Robot handling: When the workpiece needs to be processed on multiple sides, the robot is much more efficient than a fixture, as is the case with the curved tube.


  • Combined use of a fixture and robot: This allows cutting the part at any point in a single step, without manual repositioning, ensuring high precision and a significant reduction in cycle time. The laser performs the first machining operations on the part in the fixture, performing the cut also in the areas that will be subsequently closed in the clamp. The robot then picks up the workpiece and positions it to the other cutting locations, preventing cutting restrictions and additional handling typical of fixed tooling.

    Copia B151LTFREEcamp ed
  • Active Tools: The hydroforming process creates major changes in the geometric shape of the workpiece, which can have different thicknesses from point to point, as well as edges and cavities which are sometimes very narrow and difficult to cut.
    The Active Tools are designed to ensure maximum performance even under these difficult conditions, constantly optimizing the cutting parameters automatically during processing.

    • Active piercing detects the piercing of the material, reducing the piercing time and preventing recast (causing the part to stick to the scrap). It also prevents heat input to the opposite side of the part in the case of tubes and hydroformed products.

    • Active focus automatically optimizes the focus position to always ensure the optimal cutting on any thickness.

    • Active speed optimizes of the cutting parameters (speed, duty cycle, power, etc.) according to selected material specifications.
Example of hydroformed part cut with LT-FREE Example of hydroformed part cut with LT-FREE Example of hydroformed part cut with LT-FREE Example of hydroformed part cut with LT-FREE
Example of hydroformed part cut with LT-FREE


Whoever chose LT-FREE for the processing of hydroformed products, did so for:

  • Easy programming
  • The possibility of using the robot
  • Achieving a lower total cost per part
  • Performing multiple operations in one
  • Eliminating intermediate and semi-finished product warehouses


Cutting multiple pieces

A benefit of the LT-FREE (and laser cutting in general) is the ability to nest part programs and produce different parts from a common, larger piece, leading to significant material savings.

How to get more parts from a single piece How to get more parts from a single piece How to get more parts from a single piece How to get more parts from a single piece
How to get more parts from a single piece

The advantage offered in this type of application is even greater when the robot comes into play that, by moving the piece appropriately, facilitates the creation of multiple pieces from a tube or a single hydroformed part.

laser cut multiple pieces laser cut multiple pieces


Stamped and drawn

LT-FREE is also suitable for processing stamped and deep-drawn products, particularly small and medium-sized ones. For this reason, many subcontractors and manufacturers in the automotive, motorcycle, HVAC and aerospace sectors have chosen it for their production.

Example of stamped part processed with LT-FREE Example of stamped part processed with LT-FREE
Example of stamped part processed with LT-FREE

The following advantages have been realized:

  • Programming: ArtCut, in addition to allowing quick and simple programming of the entire cutting cycle, automatically creates the workpiece support fixtures, so that they can be cut directly from a flat sheet by LT-FREE itself. ArtCut can automatically generate the fixture template to be placed under the 3D piece.

  • Active Gripper: Automatic gripping system opens when the laser head passes through and closes immediately afterwards. This allows you to make the piece in one step and to increase the final precision.

Companies who have chosen LT-FREE for the processing of stamped and deep-drawn products enjoy many advantages, such as:

  • Easy programming
  • Automatic creation of support templates
  • Achieving a lower total cost per part
  • Workpiece processing in one cutting cycle