To achieve the benefits of combined processing, laser technology has been integrated into mainstream CNC machines - effectively repurposing them as hybrid manufacturing platforms. This paper reviews how this engineering challenge has prompted beam delivery innovations to allow automated changeover between laser processing and machining, using standard CNC tool changers. Handling laser-processing heads using the tool changer also enables automated change over between different types of laser processing heads, further expanding the breadth of laser processing flexibility in a hybrid CNC. This paper highlights the development, challenges and future impact of hybrid CNCs on laser processing.
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Jason B. Jones, "Repurposing mainstream CNC machine tools for laser-based additive manufacturing," Proc. SPIE 9738, Laser 3D Manufacturing III, 973811 (6 April 2016);