Cutting, etching, and bending operations occur in most of the companies that specialize in fabricated products manufacturing, and while shop owners have been utilizing traditional tools to perform these functions, the development of laser cutting technology revolutionized how things are done. The laser technology used optimized applications, processes, and production across several industries, including metalworking, electronics, woodworking, automotive, and packaging, among others. Laser cutting machines help increase the accuracy of output by guaranteeing clean finishes and precise detailing of finished products. Laser cutting machines also minimize the number of steps needed to go from a sheet of material to a completed part. 

In the past CO2 laser cutting machines were used to cut through various materials, however, further research led to the discovery of new tools that could improve efficiency, speed, and precision of cuts; solid state resonators with fiber deliver systems created fiber laser machines. Fiber lasers continued to yield unmatched speeds when cutting thinner materials. However, they did not match the CO2 lasers’ speed when it came to cutting thicker products. Through testing, research and further development the fiber laser cutting technology of today became a general purpose process after it demonstrated unprecedented speed when cutting thin materials and complete capability when going to thick. Combined with the fact that the cost of operation dropped five times lower when using fiber lasers instead of the CO2 lasers meant that the ROI derived from using fiber laser was more significant.

What is Fiber Laser Cutting?

Fiber laser cutting is a technique of splitting material using an optical fiber that is coated in rare elements. For the fiber laser cutting machine to function, a laser beam is fired from the laser generator and focused into the laser beam with immense power density through the optical path system. When the laser beam hits the surface of the material being worked on, it starts heating the workpiece right past its melting or boiling point and directly to it's vaporizing point. High pressure gasses (cutting gasses) that are combined with the beam blows away the vaporized substance. The beam strength (KW), material type and focal point determine how quickly the fiber laser pierces and vaporizes a material. Fiber optic laser cutters are designed to cut materials at a high speed, with very small kerf widths and with great precision.

When to use a Fiber Laser Cutting Machine

Although fiber lasers are versatile, efficient, and cost-saving, they are not suited for just any cut. They are ideal for cutting Steels, Stainless Steels and Aluminum Alloy materials. So, if you want to work on materials such as steel sheets or anything of 2 inches and below, and produce quality shaped parts then fiber lasers are the best.

 Why Fiber Lasers are Ideal for any Modern Shop

Unlike some years back, when fiber laser cutting was considered a new thing in the industry, today, fiber laser machines are being used by shops of all shapes and sizes. Speed, precision, cost-effectiveness, and versatility are crucial attributes that any manufacturing environment should have and since fiber lasers deliver all these in a very affordable package every enterprise whether small or large ought to have a fiber laser machine in their facility. Why continue using machines that aggregate the overall cost of manufacturing? Instead add a fiber laser cutting system that saves money and delivers top-quality products efficiently. Currently, using fiber lasers to cut through materials has become one of the most useful and stable processes all around the globe.

How Much Does a Fiber Laser Cutting Machine Cost?

While most providers sell laser cutting machines in a variety of sizes and capabilities, the amount of money you'll have to spend will depend on several factors. Including:

  • Size: Systems are available in anything from a small table type format or a large flat sheet cutting system capable of handling sheets 10' X 20' or larger. The size of machine to justify will be a determining factor on the investment required. Typical Fiber Laser Cutting Systems are 5' X 10' in capacity and include a single pallet shuttle table for simple added automation. 
  • Power: Power simply relates to cutting capacity (in material types and thicknesses) and speed! The higher power purchased the faster your machine can process parts.Typical first time fiber laser buyers opt for a good power system of 2-4KW of power whereas shops that are rushing to meet demand are opting for 8, 10 and 12KW systems.
  • Automation: Many shops that have high demand opt for increased capacity by automating the loading and unloading process of the fiber laser cutting system. From simple pallet shuttling that can swap out one part at a time to a shelf fed tower system that can feed sheet after sheet these systems can quickly process material and do so unattended for many hours. Additionally Fiber laser cutting systems can further automated with devices that changes nozzles, cutting heads  and clean and inspect the optics allowing for many more hours of trouble free processing. 
  • Capability: Some Fiber Laser Cutting Systems are combined processes capable of cutting flat sheet and tubing on the same machine. These combined processes add great capability to a job shop that may not be sure what new projects or opportunities are coming to the door.

Fiber lasers may range from under $20,000 to over 1M so it's very important to talk with an expert like the folks at Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales, Inc. about your application to ensure you get the right machine for your product, process and budget.

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