Briefly, fiber laser light is created by banks of diodes. The light is channeled and amplified through fiber optic cable similar to that used for data transfer. The amplified light, on exiting the fiber cable, is collimated or straightened and then focused by a lens onto the material to be cut.
Creation of the light is 200% more efficient than via a traditional CO2 laser, and delivery is far simpler, with no expensive optical mirrors. The focusing lens, unlike on a conventional CO2 laser machine, is sealed in the cutting head and thus not a consumable item.
Bystronic first launched its fiber laser in the UK in 2010 as a 2 kW machine, which was swiftly followed by a 3 kW and then a 4 kW machine. Interestingly, the 3 kW model remains most popular, with 60% of UK machines delivered being of this power.
If one examines the price-to-performance ratio of the different models, the main cutting speed benefit of the higher-power 4 kW laser is in mid-range materials from 6 to 8 mm thick. There are also small benefits in thickness capacity when cutting non-ferrous materials, typically an increase of one gauge of material. This helps only customers who cut a lot of material in the 6 to 8 mm range or who wish to cover all eventualities, as it is their only laser cutting machine.
Twist Fab Inc. offers both Fiber and CO2 Laser Cutting Solutions.
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