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Fiber Laser Cutting VS CO2 Laser Cutting

Fiber laser cutting vs CO2 laser cutting

Fiber Laser Cutting VS CO2 Laser Cutting

Optical laser cutting and CO2 laser cutting, which kind of cutting method is better? This has always been a topic of discussion in the manufacturing industry. Perhaps they have similar basic functions when cutting materials, but there are significant differences in technology, performance, and cutting certain materials and special applications. This article discusses the working principles and advantages and disadvantages of the two laser cutting methods. Understanding the following knowledge can help you choose a fiber laser cutting machine or a CO2 laser cutting machine.
Table of Contents
What is fiber laser cutting

What is fiber laser cutting?

Fiber laser cutting is a cutting process that uses high-power fiber laser genes to cut metal. The optical fiber laser generator uses high-power optical fiber components to focus on transmitting strong beams. This laser beam can easily melt the metal surface and accurately cut metal plates with different thicknesses.

The working principle of optical fiber laser cutting

The working principle of optical fiber laser cutting is based on the laser beam generated by the fiber laser generator. The laser beam is aligned with the metal surface, and the metal surface will heat up, melt, evaporate, or burn, leaving a clean incision. The fiber laser generator generates a laser beam, which is composed of the gain medium, optical resonance cavity, and pump source.
The optical resonance cavity consists of two reflectors. It reflects the laser beam back and forth through the gain medium, enlarges the laser energy, and transmits it to the cut head controlled by CNC. In the cut head, the laser is launched from the end of the fiber cable, and the laser beam is concentrated on a small area on the surface of the material through a series of focused lenses, thereby achieving precise and clean cutting.

Advantages of optical fiber laser cutting

The main advantage of cutting tablet metals with optical fiber laser technology comes from its single, fiber-to-fiber, and compact solid-state design configuration. The configuration does not need to be maintained frequently, and the operating cost is lower than that of similar CO2 laser generators. The following are more advantages of optical fiber laser cutting:

  • High speed: The cutting speed of the fiber laser beam is very fast, and it is very advantageous in cutting thin materials. When cutting 1 mm thick stainless steel, the fiber laser cutting speed is nearly three times faster than the CO2 laser cutting. You can deal with normal parts faster, to have the opportunity to bear additional workers, which is conducive to further increasing sales revenue and profits.
  • High precision: High precision is one of the biggest advantages of optical fiber cutting. You can finely cut any complex design objects to provide you with smaller cutting incisions and more stable performance. It is suitable for all industries such as medicine, aerospace, and cars that value accuracy.
  • Energy efficiency: The electrical conversion efficiency of the fiber laser generator is about 30% higher than other cutting methods. This high-power efficiency makes the use power of the optical fiber laser generator significantly lower than that of the CO2 laser generator. This means that you can do more with less energy.
  • Donalized maintenance: A fiber laser cutting machine is a maintenance machine with a long service life. In addition, there are no mobile parts or reflex mirrors in the fiber laser generator. You do not need to perform beam path maintenance, clean reflex mirrors or lenses, etc., which greatly reduces the required maintenance volume and cost related to maintenance.
  • Multifunctional: Fiber laser cutting is good at cutting a variety of metal materials, such as copper, carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. This multifunctionality makes it an ideal solution for various industries, including aerospace, automobile electronics, and medical industries.
  • Small area: The area of the machine largely depends on the size of the cutting bed and the workbench used. At the same laser power, the fiber laser generator occupies less space than other cutting machines.

Disadvantages of optical fiber laser cutting

Fiber laser cutting is an efficient and accurate cutting method, which has multiple advantages compared to other cutting techniques. But like any other technology, it also has some shortcomings that should be considered, including:

  • High purchase cost: Although the operating cost is low, the investment cost of purchasing fiber laser cutting machines is relatively high, which makes them less suitable for small enterprises. As solid laser technology is becoming more and more popular, the cost of the fiber laser cutting system is also declining, and the price gap between other types of cutting machines is gradually becoming smaller.
  • High reflection material: The fiber laser cutting machine has some difficulties when machining aluminum and copper, and the use of an optical fiber laser cutting machine cutting reflex metals for a long time will cause certain damage to the laser generator.
  • Energy consumption: Although the optical fiber laser cutting machine is very high, it is necessary to consume a lot of electricity when facing large cutting operations, resulting in high energy costs.
  • Noise: Although optical fiber laser cutting is generally quieter than CO2 laser cutting, there is still some noise during cutting. It may have a certain impact on workers’ health.
  • Tobacco: Fiber laser cutting will produce smoke and particles during cutting, which will not only damage machine components and electronic equipment, and reduce cutting performance, but also harm the health of the environment and staff.
  • Auxiliary gas: To efficiently spray the melt out of the cut, an optical fiber laser requires auxiliary gas. When cutting stainless steel, an average of about 40% of nitrogen is used per hour than the CO 2 laser, and about 20% of oxygen is used when cutting low-carbon steel.
What is CO2 laser cutting

What is CO2 laser cutting?

The use of CO2 gas as the gain medium in the laser system is characteristic of the CO2 laser generator. The resonant using CO2 gas under high -speed (turbine or wind turbine) will use a variety of methods to split the ions of light particles (usually stimulated by RF or DC), causing the light particles to collide with each other and split with a larger interval, thereby Complete cutting.

CO2 laser cutting working principle

The working principle of CO2 laser cutting is based on the CO2 resonator to generate a beam. The sealing trachea with a reflector at both ends constitutes any pillars based on the CO2 laser cutting machine. The tube is filled with a mixture of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, sorbet, and sorbet. The high-voltage discharge through the tube, causes a chain response in the gas mixture to generate high-energy laser beams. The beam is transmitted through reflection and focus. Its method is the same as that of a series of lenses and high-speed cutting gas with a series of lenses and high-speed cutting gas.

Advantages of CO2 laser cutting

The CO2 laser generator has a longer time than the fiber laser generator and gradually occupies market dominance. With its well-known advantages, the CO2 laser generator has been applied to industries such as the pharmaceutical industry, food production, electronic component manufacturing, fabric cutting, and cutting building materials.

  • Low investment cost: Compared with other laser cutting methods, the price of CO2 laser cutting machines is usually low. This is because CO2 laser cutting technology has a long time, and most brands in the industry can make CO2 machines. Therefore, the machines you need are not as expensive as other cutting methods.
  • Cutting thickness: The thick-cut material is one of the advantages of CO2 laser cutting, especially when the material of more than 5 mm is cut, the CO2 laser generator provides faster initial perforation time, faster straight cutting, and smoother surface smoothness Essence.
  • Multifunctional: CO2 laser cutting can cut extensive materials, especially suitable for cutting non-metal materials, including plastic, textiles, glass, acrylic, and even stone. Their relatively high efficiency and good beam quality make them the most widely used laser generator types in the industry.
  • High quality: CO2 laser generator can provide better smoothness and edge quality. Without any adjustments, you can processnon-metal, and other composite materials.
  • Simple operation: After a long period of development, CO2 laser cutting technology has gradually become a more mature technology. Many experts in the market know how to deal with common problems related to CO2 laser cutting.

disadvantages of CO2 laser cutting

Although the CO2 laser cutting technology is more stable and mature, and other cutting methods are inseparable, there are still some shortcomings. These disadvantages include:

  • High running cost: The production efficiency of the CO2 laser generator in the operation is limited, and other components of the machine require more power. Therefore, compared with the same power optical laser cutting machine, the power consumption cost of CO2 laser cutting is 70% higher than 70% higher, resulting in very high operating costs.
  • High reflection material: CO2 laser has a wavelength of about 10 μm, which determines that reflective metal materials such as aluminum, steel, copper, and brass cannot be processed by the CO2 laser generator, otherwise the reflected laser will be optical in the cut head. The components cause severe damage.
  • High power: The CO2 laser generator requires more power during the running process. For example, high-power CO2 laser generators and coolers will consume about 70 kW when the runtime is at maximum power, and other laser generators of the same power consume only 18 kW.
  • Slow speed: Compared with the fiber laser generator, the CO2 laser generator needs a lot of time to complete the operation. When cutting thinner parts, the speed gap between the two becomes greater.
  • Maintenance problem: The CO2 laser generator needs to regularly maintain all machine components (laser systems, coolers, extract devices, and machines), which is essential for preventing expensive maintenance and machine shutdown.
  • Tobacco: The CO2 laser generator also produces smoke and particles during cutting. Cutting plastic and other flammable materials will produce toxic smoke and small particles. It is also very harmful to the human body while damaging the machine components.
  • Noise: Most noise generated by laser cutting machines is caused by machine motion rather than laser sources. When cutting thick materials, the auxiliary gas will produce a certain degree of noise.
Choose fiber laser cutting or CO2 laser cutting

Choose optical fiber laser cutting or CO2 laser cutting?

Optical laser cutting and CO2 laser cutting have their advantages and characteristics. Is it to choose optical fiber laser cutting or CO2 cutting? Several factors need to be considered carefully. You need to consider technical factors such as energy and light wavelengths as well as process parameters such as cutting speed and accuracy and compare these important factors.

Wavelength

CO2 laser has a wavelength of about 10 μm and has certain restrictions when processing high-reflected materials because they cannot absorb light of the wavelength of high-reflected materials. The wavelength of the optical fiber laser generator is 1.04 μm, which can penetrate most materials. Therefore, the range of fiber laser cutting materials is wider.

Power consumption

The fiber laser generator is very efficient. Compared with the corresponding CO2 laser generator, the power consumption of the fiber laser generator is reduced by 30%, which means that they can complete the work faster with fewer resources.

System configuration

The optical fiber laser generator is extremely simple and does not require any complex systems or too much maintenance. But both are equipped with advanced CNC systems and manipulate machines through smart screens, which makes them easier to operate and learn.

Material range

If you need to cut metal materials, including carbon steel, iron, titanium, etc., optical fiber laser cutting is your ideal choice because it can provide much cutting speed and excellent cutting quality (minimum residue Cut the edge of the rules).
If you are mostly used to cut non-metallic materials, including plastic, textiles, glass, etc. The CO 2 laser generator may be a better choice, equipped with faster perforation speed and cutting speed, and can also produce smooth surface smoothness.

Accuracy

Generally speaking, CO2 laser cutting is more smooth for all plate thicknesses, and they can achieve smoother cutting edges, as the thickness of the board increases, this difference will become more obvious.
For thinner plates, it is more suitable to choose a fiber laser cutting machine. Their cutting speed is faster and the incision is smaller.

Speed

The fiber laser generator cuts the thin plate significantly faster than the CO 2 laser generator because the wavelength characteristics and laser beams can focus on a wider area. For example, the cutting speed of the fiber laser generator when cutting 1 mm stainless steel is 3 times that of the CO2 laser generator.

Cost

In laser cutting, the cost is an important consideration. CO2 laser cutting machines are usually cheaper than fiber laser cutting machines, but CO2 laser cutting machines need to often maintain machine components (reflectors, lenses, etc.). In addition, the optical fiber laser cutting machine requires less maintenance than the CO2 laser cutting machine, which saves funds in the long run.

Summarize

Although each laser generator has its advantages and different uses, which technique is suitable for your various needs and operations? Consider whether the system is suitable for your application before buying a machine. What is your parts production speed and cost benefit? Based on these related data, the application scope, operating costs, throughput, ownership costs, and of course investment costs. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of various optical fiber laser cutting machines can help you develop your business.
If you want to know more metal-cutting solutions that are suitable for you, please contact us at any time. AccTek Laser is willing to discuss with you specific requirements for machines. Our professional team will use scientific technology to help you meet these requirements and analyze them to determine the best laser-cutting machine.
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