Fiber lasers vs. CO2 lasers for Laser cutting Ontario
Fiber lasers are increasingly being used for sheet metal cutting because of its capability to cut a wide range of materials at high speed while complying with commercially accepted standards. Fiber laser light is created through banks of diodes with the light channeled and amplified through fiber optics instead of optical mirrors. The creation of light in fiber lasers is 200% more efficient than CO2 lasers and delivery is much simpler. The focusing lens is not a consumable item because it is sealed within the cutting head. Since there are no moving parts or mirrors as a light generating source, fiber lasers have the distinct advantage of minimal maintenance requirements and operating costs. Fiber lasers also have the capability to cut aluminum materials which is not possible through CO2 lasers due to its reflective light. Fiber lasers are 3 times quicker when cutting a straight line through a 1mm mild, galvanized or stainless steel and twice as fast as CO2 lasers when cutting through 2mm materials.
According to research at least 70% of laser cutting applications in sheet metal fabrication involve thin materials that are under ¼ inch in thickness. However, instead of fiber optic lasers, CO2 lasers are still more widely used. The reputation of CO2 lasers has been built over the years and while fiber Laser cutting Ontario has better benefits to offer, technological advances in CO2 laser technology represents significant market potential. Wattage levels for CO2 lasers have been leveled off at 6 KW but the introduction of new resonators have made CO2 lasers more cost effective to operate with faster processing times. With the CO resonators, CO2 lasers are now considered maintenance-free. The advantages of CO2 lasers over fiber optic lasers are mainly due to its capability to cut and process thicker materials that are more than 5 mm in thickness. CO2 lasers are not only faster in straight line cutting of thick materials, it produces a smoother surface finish.
Which of the two laser technologies is the better choice?
The versatility of CO2 lasers in cutting thicker materials makes it an attractive choice for fabricators because they can meet the demands of customers for a wide range of projects. However, fabrication shops must maintain their competitiveness and flexibility in being able to process a full range of materials thickness. While fiber lasers outperform CO2 lasers in cutting thinner materials, CO2 lasers are more effective in thicker sheet metal. In order to determine which technology in laser cutting is a better choice, it is important to have a comprehensive analysis of the impact of laser technology on other fabrication processes. Will a fiber laser provide the fabrication shop a competitive advantage?