The disadvantages of fiber compared with CO2 mainly relate to the cutting speed when processing thicker materials, typically above 5 mm, where the CO2 machine is faster in a straight line and also has much faster piercing times at the start of the cut. There is also the advantage of a smoother surface finish with the CO2 machine when cutting thicker materials.
Thus, what can be deduced from the statistics and experiences of our UK customers that have bought fiber and sometimes also CO2 laser profilers from Bystronic?
- Over 70% of fiber laser customers are subcontractors, the remainder being original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). This is surprising, as one would expect OEMs to be more confident about deciding to purchase a fiber laser machine, where the advantages and disadvantages vary greatly, depending on the products to be cut. Subcontractors can never be sure what the next job will be and what material thicknesses will need to be processed, so theoretically the versatility of a CO2 machine would be more attractive.
- Of the subcontractors, only 31% had a single laser profiler after purchasing the fiber machine, whereas 69% were multiple laser users and could decide which machine to put work onto, CO2 or fiber
- The main reason for purchasing a fiber machine was the speed of cutting thin (1 to 2 mm and up to 3 mm) materials.
- An important secondary reason was the lower running cost and the lower power consumption using fiber technology, which was particularly important in companies at the top end of the electrical supply limit in their workshops.