Lasers are still relatively new tools in the manufacturing industries, but many would agree that they have huge potential. They are fast, suitable for a wide range of materials, highly reliable, able to reproduce intricate designs, and are mostly automated. Using a laser for cutting, marking, and engraving presents a lot of benefits compared to the more traditional rotary tools.
When making the shift to laser technology, a manufacturer is given another choice – to pick between either a CO2 laser or a fiber laser. As with any worthy dilemma, there are benefits and drawbacks to be considered in either option.
The Fiber laser Cutting Industry seems to have been taken over by a storm. More and more options are available and companies are investing in this technology, as the quality of Fiber laser cutting is so high.
Generally, if your application is laser cutting of metals, you’ll most likely need a high-power fiber laser. For other materials like plastics and rubber, it can be one or the other.
Nowadays the CO2 is becoming very costly and the technology is rather outdated. Machines like Milling machines can be largely used for marking of organic materials and there is a wide variety of smaller fiber laser cutting machines out there that are taking over this market too.
The main difference determining the type of materials each laser can process is the wavelength. A fiber laser usually has a wavelength of 1,060 nm whileCO2 lasers have wavelengths in the 10,600 nm range. Generally, Fiber lasers have many advantages over CO2 Lasers.
Fiber lasers are generally “maintenance-free” machines, and they have a long service life. They can be smaller than CO2 lasers and due to the high electrical efficiency of fiber lasers, use significantly less power than CO2 lasers, resulting in huge cost savings for cutting applications. The quality of a fiber laser beam is virtually incomparable.
Fiber lasers now have a growing demand for industrial cleaning applications such as removing rust, paint, oxides, and other contaminants. The cost of a fiber laser system will greatly vary depending on your applications. Industrial fiber laser systems can vary greatly and it is normally the power source that is the largest impacter.