After the invention of computer-controlled machines, CO2 lasers gained a lot of popularity in the market. Later on, fiber lasers came into the market. Both these machines have their own advantages and disadvantages when we compare their speed, cost, precision, and more. And so, the manufacturing industries often feel confused when choosing between Fiber and CO2 laser cutters. To make it easier for you, we have explained both the laser machines and including pros and cons.
What is a Fiber Laser Cutting Machine?
The CNC machine controls the light source from the resonator and delivers it to the cutting head. The laser is emitted from the end of the cable and refocused to a series of focal lenses on the cutting sheet. The fiber laser has cutting gasses like NO2 and O2 around the material, which helps in vaporizing the intense heat and blowing away the dust particles.
Fiber lasers are generally used for etching, engraving, and metal annealing. As they produce small focal diameters (which means higher intensity), it is suitable for the high contrast markings like serial numbers, barcodes, data matrices on the metals, etc. They are often used for product traceability by directly marking the product parts.
The fiber machines require less maintenance and have a long service life. Also, using good quality spare parts like Mitsubishi laser consumables or Trumpf laser consumables will increase the shelf life of the parts. The size of the machine is smaller than the CO2 lasers. Also, the electrical efficiency of the fiber laser is high, so it significantly uses less power than CO2 lasers, which means substantial cost savings.
Apart from cutting, fiber lasers are also used for industrial cleaning applications like removing dust, paint, oxides, and any kind of contaminants.
What is a CO2 Laser Cutting Machine?
The light from the CO2 resonator is refocused by using a series of lenses for the reflection process. Here the cutting head emitted light. The path of the reflection process is protected with laz gasses to keep the path clean and dust-free. Thus, this beam path delivery system ensures no dust interferes with the delivery, and the laser path passes with full intensity.
The CO2 laser is ideal for a wide range of non-metallic materials like textiles, plastics, glass, acrylic, wood, and stones. It is also used in pharmaceutical and food packing. We can also use it for marking PVC pipes, mobile gadgets, electrical appliances, integrated circuits (IC), and electrical components. The CO2 lasers are best for cutting thicker materials.
For all materials above 5mm, CO2 laser can deliver faster piercing, straight-line cutting, and a smooth finish. The one drawback of the CO2 laser is that it consumes more power when compared with the fiber laser, which means higher cost of operation. Last but not the least, make sure to use good quality Trumpf, Amada, or Mitsubishi replacement parts for better cut quality.
Pros and Cons of CO2 and Fiber Laser Cutter
Advantages of CO2 Laser
- The CO2 lasers leave the best edge quality specially for aluminum and stainless workpieces.
- They can also be used for cutting non-metals.
- As these technologies have been in use for so many years, the results are predictable, and the user has assurance of the quality of the cuts.
Disadvantages CO2 Laser
- The CO2 laser requires a blower, chiller, and beam path delivery system to ensure the working of the laser beam. All these processes consume a lot of power and, thus, it is costly.
- You require regular maintenance of the system, which adds up to the cost.
- It is not the best choice when it comes to cutting thin materials.
Advantages of Fiber Laser
- The fiber laser cutting system is cheaper compared to CO2 lasers.
- With the use of mirrors, gasses for the beam path delivery system, the cost of maintenance is reduced. And the consumables from good brands like Mitsubishi replacement parts, and Amada replacement parts can be easily found online.
- The fiber laser is way faster than the CO2 laser.
- They consume less power compared to CO2 lasers.
Disadvantages of Fiber Lasers
- Fiber lasers do not give a proper finish while cutting thicker materials compared to CO2 lasers.
- They are compatible with cutting non-metals.
- They are not as known and familiar to the users as the CO2 lasers.
The choice is yours; if your business requires cutting non-metals, then go for CO2 lasers, and if you require a cost-effective and faster machine, you must go for the fiber laser cutter. Both the laser machines are best in their own way, and to keep receiving the best performance from both, it is important to maintain them. For that, you can use good quality Mitsubishi laser consumables, Trumpf laser consumables, etc. Suitable quality consumables will last longer, and you will receive good quality cuts for a more extended period of time.