Fiber lasers are essential to a sophisticated metal fabrication shop. They help engineers complete intricate designs with excellent accuracy and speed. However, some laser cutting techniques can limit production, extend lead times, and increase the budget. You must follow the latest trends to understand your options.
Novel two-dimensional fiber laser cutting technologies are finally here. Modern manufacturers frequently use them to meet crucial goals and remain competitive in fast-paced markets. CO2 lasers, for example, have revolutionized the metal fabrication industry to encourage innovation and support large-scale production. Still, both techniques have pros and cons.
Here’s what you need to know about the new era of laser systems.
Fiber Lasers vs CO2 Lasers: Which Is Better?
Fiber lasers and CO2 lasers use different sources of power and energy. They also operate at different wavelengths. The variables can dictate which designs your team can fabricate and which materials they can use.
CO2 laser cutters use a longer wavelength, so they can’t cut or engrave hardened metals as efficiently. Meanwhile, fiber lasers operate at a much shorter wavelength, providing a better energy absorption rate that can slice through organic materials and heavy-duty metals.
On the other hand, a fiber laser has a tinier focal point. Cutting thick workpieces can be a waste of time and money with this strategy. CO2 cutters are much more practical for those applications. Still, laser cutters generally render more delicate designs with precision, while the alternative cannot. Then add a galvo head to significantly increase speeds and send end-use products to market faster.
CO2 lasers also require more warm-up time and maintenance than high-quality fiber lasers. Metal fabricators must replace the carbon dioxide gas tubes every couple of years. Fiber lasers also don’t use mirrors, so operators can save time finagling with the alignment.
The benefits are not without a few caveats, however. Due to their solid-state nature, most fiber sources are more expensive. CO2 laser systems are typically more affordable to own and operate. However, their innate manufacturing limitations could stunt productivity and profitability.
TIP: Talk to your team about the best techniques, or consider other CNC machining methods to complete challenging orders.
How Versatile Laser Systems Benefit Metal Manufacturers
Metal fabrication can be exciting, and it encourages ingenuity across multiple sectors. However, manufacturing facilities must offer a robust service portfolio to accommodate innovative projects. Shops that refuse to provide both laser systems could fall behind their competitors or lose crucial orders.
Offering a versatile playbook can help metal fabricators and their clients in several ways, including these:
#1. Enhanced Part Fidelity
Options mean choosing the variables that suit your goals. Advanced laser systems and services can support unique concepts and help disrupt the market flow without ignoring industry standards. Produce parts with better fidelity using whichever laser system makes the most sense.
#2. More Efficient Prototyping
Creating prototypes allows teams to determine specific elements of a design. However, functional prototypes and assemblies for demonstration might require more delicate manufacturing processes. Fiber laser systems and CO2 lasers let teams experiment while maintaining the budget.
#3. Order Customization
High-pressure CO2 laser systems and fiber optics support creativity and customization. They’re also rapid and can help cut lead times significantly. Tailor the specs to fulfill small batch orders with precision and efficiency. Many modern laser cutting machines are also designed for minimal waste.
Metal fabrication facilities offering both laser cutting services often enjoy more profitability. Clients who consider the pros and cons usually experience more satisfying outcomes. Discuss the options with your crew to determine which direction is best.
DID YOU KNOW: You can use both fiber lasers and CO2 lasers on the same project with the correct approach.
Fiber lasers revolutionized metal fabrication by adding speed and efficiency to the process. Meanwhile, high-pressure CO2 lasers offer different and equally essential benefits. Learn which one to choose by considering the pros and cons. You can use both services to develop unique products ahead of your competitors.
Reach out to a fiber optics expert at KRYTON Engineered Metals for more information or to launch a new project. Discover the possibilities of fiber lasers and CO2 laser cutters to determine your best bet. Ask for an estimate to get started, and then submit your designs to begin innovating with purpose.