Three Key Features of Tube Laser Software

Today many companies with laser tube cutters are tracing production bottlenecks directly to programming. With the increased speed of today’s C02 and fiber tube lasers, programmers are finding it a challenge to keep these machines operating at full capacity. While these lasers generally come equipped with programming software, this software is usually very basic lacking the advanced functionality to optimize the machine’s advanced features. When purchasing new machinery manufacturers will meticulously shop, compare, and scrutinize functionality. Unfortunately software is generally not given this same level of attention — the equivalent of putting cheap retread tires on your $100,000 sports car.

Companies who want to maximize tube cutting investments should consider more sophisticated secondary software solutions. Such programs can vary greatly in terms of functionality, ease-of-use, and time-savings and to the company working with SOLIDWORKS files. Here are the key components needed to accomplish the fastest programming possible.



First, the software should be contained within a single platform. This means a user should not have to import or export the design into a secondary platform to draw, program, or post.  This multi-platform scenario wastes time and creates confusion. It does not give the programmer the ability to check the designs for any necessary programming changes until the end and can create slip-ups between the engineering department and programming.  Ideally the program should interface directly and seamlessly with SOLIDWORKS.


For the quickest programming possible, the engineered products should be programmed from the purest design possible. This means a programmer should not have to completely disassemble an assembly to program its components, nor should the programmer have to delete unused geometry within a model. Software should be able to read material type, thickness, and geometry on its own while distinguishing which parts need to be programmed for the tube laser. This saves thousands of hours of programming time over the life of the machine and increases throughput tremendously.

Easy to Use

While the “easy-to-use” term is always thrown around with software, it remains one of the most important aspects for programmers when it comes to 3 Dimensional parts. Proper tube programming software should be contained inside of a 3D engine, and programmed around the pre-designed part. This means that proper tube cutting software should never require the programmer to flatten a 3D part. In conjunction, the tool path needs to be created based upon the design, but be independent to change the tool path away from the design. This independent tool-path capability allows the programmer to increase hole-diameter, change miter cut angles, and alter cutter path properties without any costly engineering re-design time.

Time for a Change?

Technological advances in laser tube cutting machines are presenting manufacturers with new challenges. Today’s machines have increased in speed and functionality making it extremely difficult for programmer to keep pace. The solution is a robust software package which is contained in a single 3D platform, can inherently use the design available, and be extremely easy to program. These key components will keep your production high, costs low, and maximize profitably. If your current software doesn’t deliver these requirements, then it’s time to find a better solution.

SigmaTUBE® is SigmaTEK’s flagship tube cutting software. To learn more about SigmaTUBE, tube cutting process improvement or the company’s related offerings visit or contact Brad Stropes at 513-674-0005 or



Founded in 1993, SigmaTEK System, LLC (Cincinnati, OH; USA) has an extensive global support network with branches in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. SigmaTEK develops and sells SigmaNEST®, a comprehensive software solution for nesting, NC programming and cutting of steel sheet, plate, tube/pipe, and wood. SigmaNEST is the leading CAD/CAM nesting system for plasma, laser, punch, oxyfuel, waterjet, router, knife, tube/pipe and combination cutting machines. SigmaNEST ensures superior material utilization, machine motion optimization, and maximum part quality balanced with cutting speed, work flow integration, material handling, accurate estimates and information management.

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