When processing a piece of metal material, many different CNC machine tools can be used: CNC punching machine, sawing machine, plasma cutting machine, water jet cutting, CO2 laser or fiber laser cutter.
First of all let discuss why choose a fiber laser?
Fiber lasers can process sheet metal faster and cheaper than any other cutting technology. Fiber lasers have lower operating costs because the energy conversion from electricity to the laser cutting beam is excellent. Operating costs are lower due to fewer moving parts, light payload, fewer durable parts, and fewer consumables. The service requirements for fiber lasers are minimal-most parts are easy to replace and repair, and customers can handle them by themselves. The cutting width and heat-affected area of fiber lasers are very small, so incredible detail and precision can be created. Fiber laser is a cutting tool that is easy to operate and maintain, and can produce high-precision parts in a few seconds. This economical tool also requires minimal floor space. This sheet metal cutting solution is a major advancement for manufacturing companies all over the world
Next, we analyze the advantages of high-power fiber lasers from the relationship between laser power and corporate profits:
1. Greater power = greater profit, is it feasible in the field of fiber laser machines?
The laser cutting machine market is undergoing dynamic changes. It is increasingly clear in the industry that the power of other beam cutting technologies (such as CO2 laser, plasma and water jet) is often limited by high power limits, but fiber lasers have broken through such limitations. For example, a power of 4 to 6 kW is considered sufficient for a CO2 laser cutting machine. More and more global customers have achieved considerable success with fiber laser power of 10-15kW, and now it even reaches 20kW.
BCAM laser cutting machine leads the way. In the past 10 years, BCAM has created 6kw, 8kw, 10kw, 12kw, 15kw, and now it has reached 20kW. This article explains fiber laser technology and explains its future.
Important side note: Laser cutting machines basically remove material through flame cutting (oxygen process gas) or Laser cutting (nitrogen process gas).
Oxygen-assisted flame cutting is only used for certain materials, usually medium carbon steel, and the effective laser power is about 10kW: increasing the laser power does not necessarily increase productivity. The fusion cutting technology of BCAM FP series and nitrogen does not have this limitation. This article will focus on fusion cutting.
2. What is the definition of high-power laser technology?
Although there is no official definition, there are good reasons why the laser power of 8kW will be the limit. The reason is: when cutting thin sheet metal with a thickness of 1mm (0040″), increasing the power will not increase the cutting speed, the material is not thick and cannot absorb more energy.
3. Is high-power laser technology only suitable for cutting thick materials?
There is no doubt that due to the increase in power, the maximum thickness capacity has increased. Successfully processed 60mm thickness using high-power laser technology. Although more power does make the cut thicker, high-power lasers bring more profit in sheet metal processing, as long as they are thicker than 1 mm (.040″).
The main application area can reach 25 mm (1″). All the advantages of high-power laser technology utilize these material thicknesses in the best way. Today, we can safely say that additional power automatically means more productivity and lower unit cost.
4. “Power Tower”-laser power provides productivity
Laser power is obviously equal to productivity. The example of the Tower of Power specifically explains how real this is. Choose a typical manufacturing part:
This example shows only a small part of the complex world of laser cutting technology. Changing the material type, thickness, cutting pattern, dynamic machine motion and laser parameters will produce different results, but the trend will remain the same.
5. Technical effects
Increasing the laser power increases the cutting speed almost linearly!
High power not only means more productivity, but also means cutting quality. For most applications, due to the increase in cutting speed, the increased power will reduce the heat in the material, thereby improving edge sharpness.
6. Economic effect
Faster cutting speed means shorter production time and increased hourly productivity.
As the power increases, so does the number of equipment produced per hour. In order to achieve this goal, you need a machine that provides highly dynamic motion: speed and acceleration. The machine must be able to achieve rapid cutting speed (speed) and rapid direction changes and movements (acceleration) so as not to limit productivity.
We use the BCAM-FT series laser cutting machine for this test, with a maximum speed of 200 m/min and an acceleration of 3G-as one of the fastest laser cutting machines in the world, this is enough to ensure that the machine movement has the least impact on the test results.
Of course, productivity has a huge impact on unit cost. In order to be able to determine the unit cost, we assign the following hourly machine rates to the machines based on the laser power.
An hourly rate of 100 Euros was chosen as the typical cost of operating a 4kW laser. This is not the cost of the company performing the work on the machine, it is the total operating cost. Total operating costs include machine operating costs, labor, overhead, and machine value/depreciation. Obviously, with the increase of power, the growth rate of machine production is faster than the overall operating cost. Owners of laser cutting machines have the opportunity to use high-power lasers to do more work and achieve more profits.
If you look at the percentage of the same data, you will find that the owner of a 10kW machine can increase production by 188%, while the total operating cost of a 4kW system has increased by only 19%.
What about the cost of each part?
When you consider all aspects of laser power, production efficiency, and total operating costs, you end up with a chart like this. Power equals productivity and profit.
Anyone who saw this form for the first time was skeptical at first. It’s ok. Take a moment to take a good look. We are happy to help you research your specific parts and cost structure, and the results will be the same. If the laser machine is fully utilized, more power may generate significantly higher profits.
(Note: The following chart shows)
Now back to the original statement: The laser cutting machine market is undergoing dynamic changes. This change includes an increase in laser power. Unlike many other cutting processes, the power of fiber lasers gradually increases. Of course, beam delivery, cutting head technology, and machine tool design must keep up with laser power growth to ensure that fiber lasers maintain their reputation for reliability and low operating costs. As a pioneer in high-power laser technology and ultra-high-speed machine tool design, BCAM can help you analyze your production and see for yourself how power equals your company’s internal productivity.