Since CO2 lasers were initially used for cutting in the 1980s, fiber laser cutting has been one of the most “disruptive” technologies to be introduced to the metalworking industry. Because fiber laser technology has altered the entire status quo in sheet metal ᴍᴀɴufacturing, it is regarded as a disruptive and “revolutionary” shift. Additionally, seizing the opportunity is simple.
Fiber laser technology, which is used to cut flat sheet metal, has made exponential advancements in a relatively short period of time. Fiber lasers reached the 4kW cutting barrier in just five years, but CO2 lasers took around four times as long. Fiber lasers have surpassed the 15kW power level for cutting after ten years. To be fair, fiber lasers have been utilized for ᴍᴀɴy years in fields other than sheet metal cutting and some of them have power levels greater than 20kW.
Advantages of Fiber Laser Cutting Technology
The main benefits of using fiber laser technology for flat sheet metal cutting come from its monolithic, Fiber-to-Fiber, compact solid-state design configuration, which is maintenance-free and offers lower operating costs than equivalent CO2 lasers. As we will see below, the properties of fiber laser beams also allow for substantially quicker cutting speeds than CO2. When compared to a 4kW CO2 laser, the focused beam of even a 2kW Fiber laser exhibits a 5X larger power density at the focal point. Additionally, because of the shorter wavelength of the Fiber laser, it has a 2.5X larger absorption characteristic.
High-power Fiber laser speed benefits require careful planning and control of all operations in order to be utilized effectively. The financial gains could be game-changing thanks to a three- to four-times higher throughput and a half-the-cost of-operation CO2 laser. As a result, there is a decrease in cost per part, an increase in possible profit margins, and a quicker return on investment. Because the beam from fiber is more readily absorbed and not reflected, it can cut ᴄᴏᴘper, brass, and aluminum considerably better and more safely than CO2. Due to their decreased power consumption and superior electrical efficiency, Fiber laser operating costs are typically half that of a CO2 system.
The introduction of Beam Shaping technology, which modifies the beam profile for thick plate cutting with oxygen, is one of the most recent developments in fiber laser cutting. While this benefits the power density while cutting with nitrogen as the help gas, it does not apply when cutting with oxygen as the assist gas. When using oxygen to cut, a wider beam profile with lower power density is recommended since it makes a wider passage through the material for the molten steel to exit. On thicker steels, the larger beam profile results in higher cutting rates and improved cut edge quality. The larger beam profile required to achieve this improved perforᴍᴀɴce is achieved using beam shaper technology.
Let’s see the 6000W Fiber Laser cutting – ᴀᴡᴇsome CNC machine in the video below.
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Video resource: Nick@Ratel