This careful and comprehensive analysis examines not only the laser cutter equipment itself, but also the impact the new equipment will have on other existing sheet metal fabricating processes.
Fiber laser cutting has been one of the most “disruptive” technologies introduced to the metalworking market since CO2 lasers were first introduced for cutting sheet metal back in the 1980s. Fiber laser cutting technology is considered a disruptive and “revolutionary” change because it has impacted the entire status quo in sheet metal fabrication. And the opportunities are easy to realize.
Over a relatively short period of time we have seen exponential advances in Fiber laser cutting technology used for cutting flat metal sheets and plate. In just five years, Fiber lasers achieved the 4 kW cutting threshold that took CO2 lasers approximately four times as long to reach. After ten years, Fiber lasers have achieved the 10 kW to 12 kW range for which CO2 laser cutting never did. In all fairness, Fiber lasers – some exceeding 20 kW – have been used by other industries for many years in applications other than sheet metal cutting. More details!
The primary advantages of cutting flat sheet metal with Fiber laser technology are derived from its monolithic, Fiber-to-Fiber, compact solid state design configuration that is maintenance free and provides a lower cost of operation than can be achieved with comparable CO2 lasers.
Fiber laser beam characteristics also provide for much faster cutting speeds than CO2 lasers as we will explore below.
The focused beam of even a 2 kW Fiber laser demonstrates a 5X greater power density at the focal point when compared with a 4 kW CO2 laser. It also possesses a 2.5X greater absorption characteristic due to the shorter wavelength of the Fiber laser. (see Figure 1 and Figure 2).
The higher absorption of the Fiber wavelength and the higher power density created by the focused beam combine to achieve up to a five time increase in cutting speeds in materials that are less than 1/4 inch thick.
Fiber laser cutting systems can certainly cut up to one-inch thick with higher Fiber laser powers and even cut faster when utilizing nitrogen as the assist gas, but the “sweet spot” where the most significant benefits are realized is in the 5/16 inch and under range for steel when making comparisons with CO2 systems. For certain, if you are processing stainless, aluminum, brass or copper materials, Fiber laser technology is the fastest and most economical regardless of thickness.
Effectively utilizing the speed benefits from high power Fiber lasers takes careful planning and management of all processes. With a three to four time greater throughput and a cost of operation that is half of the CO2 laser, the financial gains can be game changing. The results are a lower cost per part, higher potential profit margins and shorter return on investment time. Let’s not forget the added benefit of increased machine capacity now that you are processing normal part volumes much faster, providing the opportunity to take on additional work to further increase your sales revenue and profits.
Fiber lasers can cut copper, brass and aluminum much better and more safely than CO2 because the beam is more readily absorbed and not reflected. Fiber laser operating costs are typically half of what a CO2 system can offer due to the lower electrical consumption and high electrical efficiency of Fiber lasers.
There are many aspects of operating a CO2 laser cutter that do not exist with operating a Fiber laser cutter:
Fiber optic beam paths maintain consistent nozzle beam centering.
Because the integrity of the Fiber beam remains consistent from day to day, so do the cutting parameters, requiring far less adjustments than a CO2 laser.
What becomes of all of this saved time? Higher productivity and greater machine capacity! With the Fiber laser cutter capable of five times faster cutting speeds, generating three to four times more parts per unit of time and coupled with 50% less operating costs as compared to CO2 lasers, this represents a large opportunity based on having created more machine capacity.
If you are running multiple lasers, perhaps you could consider replacing two CO2 laser cutting machines with one Fiber laser cutting machine.
The question of which technology is right for you really boils down to your operation. How well does the system fit your particular application? How much faster and how much more cost effective are your parts going to be produced? With this in mind it will be necessary to make a careful analysis of the pertinent data, including application range, operating costs, throughput, cost of ownership and, of course, the investment costs.
Whatever the final conclusion, don’t forget about the impact of this investment on your downstream processes: What effect does adding this new laser cutting system have on the flow of operations before and after the parts are cut?
Certainly knowing and preparing in advance that front-end office systems will need to keep up with the productivity of the Fiber laser helps fabricators adjust their front-end processes to keep the Fiber laser cutting, rather than waiting for jobs. Knowing that materials will need to be presented to the Fiber laser cutter in a timely manner will drive new efficiency in material handling and inventory. Knowing that increased cut part volumes need to be met with additional bending capacity will help prepare the bending area for the increased volume. For fabricators using CO2 laser cutting systems, making the move to Fiber laser technology represents a huge window of opportunity that can’t be overlooked. Learn more details at: https://www.wikihow.com/Choose-Laser-Skin-Resurfacing
Laura Jones August 27th, 2019
Posted In: Cutting Ideas
Wood, newspaper, cardboard, plastic material, PMMA.Moreover,also, plastic, leather, metals, and ceramics: the actual applications of the co2 laser cutter are infinite. Perhaps because of this, among the countless different laser beam types developed over time, the CO2 laser beam has become the most broadly diffused laser technology for laser beam material processing applications. The technology of this kind of laser goes back to 1964: since then it has been successfully used in several industrial sectors.
However, regardless of the large use of the CO2 laser, there is still a great deal of confusion about how exactly the laser beam can be utilized. Do we receive many questions like Which materials can be cut by the CO2 laser? Can the CO2 laser cut hardwood? Alternatively, Can CO2 laser cut plastic? However, still What are the actual applications of the CO2 laser beam? Moreover, so forth.
There is a fairly good supply of materials sold at home supply stores, lumber yards and through commercial source channels. Manufacturers tend to procure their materials from specific providers since they’ll receive their desired width right off the truck.
Here are a couple of popular options for finding co2 laser cutter able materials:
The versatility of laser cutters is remarkable, considering they can cut, draw and etch. The laser cutter can accurately trim or etch numerous materials such as solid wood, paper, cork, plus some sorts of plastics. Laser etching can produce great results on nearly every organic material. The primary materials shops will will include wood, cardboard, lightweight aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, tile, marble, anodized aluminum, stone, and cup. Most reflective materials, such as raw aluminum, sterling silver, copper may necessitate a different wavelength and perfection beyond some co2 laser cutter machinery’s capacity. Check here.
Laser lowering materials offerartisans and manufacturers detail results using the vitality of lasers and the strength of CO2. Before you begin any cutting project, always examine your machine, take notice of the chiller temp and gauge your central heat to meet up with the wattage needs of your cutter. For an 80-watt co2 laser cutter that’ll be used in warmer climates as an example, make sure your chiller is adjusted to handle the heat load. Temps above 75 certifications F can reduce laser power significantly.
Clean your laser lens often as well. Built-up residues will cause a dramatic reduction in cutting power and reliability, with an eventual lens cracking imminent.
The list above is merely a short set of the many different materials that can be prepared by the CO2 lasers: several other materials canbe minimized with the co2 laser cutter beam. Research on the applications of the CO2 laser is still a continuing process, which experimentation plays an important role: only testing provides us with certainty about the possible claims. Because of this, we invite you to get hold of us whereby the materials you want to work is not provided in the list above. Collectively we will see you the answer that fits yourco2 laser cutter preferences!
Laura Jones March 25th, 2019
Posted In: Cutting Ideas