At present, all industries are inseparable from lasers. Fiber lasers and CO2 lasers are two distinct types of lasers. They have different characteristics and applications. Fiber laser VS CO2 laser, what is the difference? This article will give you the answer.
What is a CO2 laser cutting machine?
A CO2 cutter is a common piece of processing equipment used in a wide range of manufacturing, arts and crafts and more. Carbon dioxide laser cutting machine is a device that uses the laser beam emitted by a carbon dioxide laser to cut, engrave, or mark materials. After the laser beam is focused by the focusing lens, it has a high energy density, and its energy can be locally converted into heat energy, thereby producing cutting and engraving effects on the surface or inside of the material. By controlling the trajectory and intensity of the laser beam, precise processing of materials can be achieved.
What is a Fiber Laser Cutting Machine?
Laser cutting is an advanced and widely used cutting process in current material processing. It is a thermal cutting method that uses a high-energy-density laser beam as a “cutting tool” to cut materials. The laser beam with high power density irradiates the workpiece so that the irradiated material reaches the ignition point or melts and ablates rapidly. At the same time, the molten material is blown away by the high-speed airflow coaxial with the beam, thereby completing the cutting of the workpiece. CNC laser cutting machine has the advantages of precision manufacturing, special-shaped processing, flexible cutting, one-time forming, fast speed, high efficiency, etc. It has solved many problems that cannot be solved by conventional methods in industrial production. significance.
In the metal processing industry, fiber laser cutting machines have gradually replaced CO2 laser cutting machines and traditional processing methods, becoming a leader in the field of sheet metal processing. The fiber laser cutting machine can perform both flat cutting and bevel cutting with neat and smooth edges. It is suitable for high-precision cutting processing such as metal sheets. At the same time, the robotic arm can replace the imported five-axis laser for three-dimensional cutting. Compared with ordinary carbon dioxide laser cutting machines, it saves space and gas consumption and has a high photoelectric conversion rate. It is a new product of energy saving and environmental protection, and it is also one of the world’s leading technical products.
Fiber Laser VS CO2 Laser, What Is The Difference?
When it comes to laser cutting machines, the choice between a fiber laser and a CO2 laser depends on several factors.
Here are the key differences between these two types of laser cutting machines:
Fiber laser cutting machines use a solid-state laser source, which consists of a fiber optic cable doped with rare-earth elements. CO2 laser cutting machines, as the name suggests, use a gas laser source that relies on a mixture of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and helium.
Fiber lasers have a shorter wavelength (typically around 1064 nanometers) compared to CO2 lasers (which emit at about 10,600 nanometers). The shorter wavelength of fiber lasers enables better absorption in certain materials, especially metals, resulting in faster cutting speeds and higher efficiency.
Due to the higher absorption rate of the fiber laser wavelength in metals, fiber laser cutting machines generally offer faster cutting speeds compared to CO2 laser cutting machines. This makes fiber lasers particularly well-suited for industrial applications where high productivity is essential.
Fiber laser cutting machines are more energy-efficient than CO2 lasers. Fiber lasers can provide the same or greater cutting power while consuming significantly less electricity. This energy efficiency can result in cost savings over the lifetime of the machine.
Fiber laser cutting machines typically require less maintenance compared to CO2 lasers. CO2 lasers have consumable components, including gas mixtures and optics, that need regular replacement. Fiber lasers, on the other hand, have a longer lifespan and require fewer maintenance procedures.
While both fiber lasers and CO2 lasers can cut a wide range of materials, they excel in different areas. Fiber lasers are particularly well-suited for cutting metals (such as steel, aluminum, and copper) due to their high absorption rates in these materials. CO2 lasers, on the other hand, are more versatile and can effectively cut a variety of materials including plastics, wood, fabrics, glass, and more.
In general, fiber laser cutting machines tend to have a higher upfront cost compared to CO2 lasers. However, this cost difference is often offset by the lower operating and maintenance costs of fiber lasers over time.
Choosing between a fiber laser cutting machine and a CO2 laser cutting machine depends on factors such as the type of materials to be cut, desired cutting speed, budget constraints, and specific application requirements.
CO2 Cutting or Laser Cutting, Which Cutting Effect Is Better?
Laser equipment structure
In carbon dioxide laser cutting technology, carbon dioxide gas is the medium that produces the laser beam. However, fiber lasers work via diodes and fiber optic cables. Fiber laser systems use multiple diode pumps to generate a laser beam, which is then delivered to the laser cutting head via a flexible fiber optic cable, rather than mirrors to deliver the beam. This has many advantages, starting with the cutting table size. Unlike gas laser technology, where mirrors must be set within a certain distance, fiber laser technology has no range limitation. It is even possible to install the fiber laser next to the plasma cutting head of the plasma cutting table, which is not an option for CO2 laser cutting technology. Also, the ability to bend the fiber makes the system more compact when compared to an equivalent power gas cutting system.
Electro-optic conversion efficiency
Probably the most important and meaningful advantage of fiber cleaving technology is its energy efficiency. With the complete solid-state digital module and single design of fiber laser, the fiber laser cutting system has a higher electro-optical conversion efficiency than carbon dioxide laser cutting.
For each power unit of a CO2 cutting system, the actual typical utilization is about 8% to 10%. For fiber laser cutting systems, users can expect higher power efficiency, on the order of 25% to 30%. In other words, the overall energy consumption of the optical fiber cutting system is about 3 to 5 times less than that of the carbon dioxide cutting system, so the energy efficiency is increased to more than 86%.
Cutting effect comparison
Fiber lasers are characterized by short wavelengths, which increase the absorption of the beam by the material being cut and enable the cutting of materials such as brass and copper as well as non-conductive materials. A more focused beam produces a smaller focal spot and a deeper depth of focus, so fiber lasers can cut thinner materials quickly and cut medium-thick materials more efficiently.
When cutting materials up to 6mm thick, the cutting speed of a 1.5kW fiber laser cutting system is equivalent to that of a 3kW carbon dioxide laser cutting system. Therefore, the operating cost of fiber cutting is lower than that of ordinary carbon dioxide cutting systems.
Maintenance cost comparison
In terms of machine maintenance, fiber laser cutting is more environmentally friendly and convenient. The carbon dioxide gas laser system needs regular maintenance; the mirror needs maintenance and calibration, and the resonator needs regular maintenance. Fiber laser cutting solutions, on the other hand, require hardly any maintenance. The carbon dioxide laser cutting system needs carbon dioxide as the laser gas.
Due to the purity of the carbon dioxide gas, the resonant cavity will be polluted and need to be cleaned regularly. For a multi-kilowatt carbon dioxide system, this costs at least 120,000 per year. Additionally, many CO2 cuts require high-speed axial turbines to deliver the laser gas, and the turbines require maintenance and refurbishment.
Although the cutting ability of carbon dioxide laser is very strong, in terms of energy saving and cost, optical fiber still has a higher advantage. The economic benefits brought by optical fiber are much higher than that of CO2. In the future development trend, fiber laser Cutting machines will occupy the position of mainstream equipment.
Through the above introduction, we can see that compared with CO2 laser processing, fiber laser cutting technology has more obvious advantages, which not only improves product quality, but also shortens the production cycle, reduces time cost, and brings maximum benefits to enterprises.
The cutting advantages and maintenance cost advantages of fiber laser cutting machines are incomparable to CO2 laser cutting machines, which is why fiber laser cutting machines develop so fast. The economic benefit brought by optical fiber is much higher than that of CO2. In the future development trend, fiber laser cutting machines will occupy a mainstream position.