Laser cutting technology has been around for many decades, and it's an innovation that has transformed the world extensively. Better laser-cutting machines are widely used in many industries, and the trend is not slowing soon. The surge in demand for better cutting technology useful in many applications has led to the production of different lasers for cutting, including a new fiber laser.
CO2 vs fiber lasers debates have graced many forums, and each laser type has been gaining momentum over the years. If you understand laser cutting technology, you should not have any uncertainties choosing either a CO2 laser or fiber laser. They both work in the infrared spectrum and can be used for different applications and diverse industries. However, there is a substantial difference between these fantastic types of lasers. Have a look:
Both gas lasers and fiber optic lasers work at different wavelengths that impact their applications. The carbon dioxide laser has a wavelength of 10.6 micrometers, and it's obtained from the mixture of CO2 and other gases (hydrogen, helium, and nitrogen). On the other hand, fiber lasers have a wavelength of 1.08 micrometers and are obtained from crystalline ytterbium compounds.
The different wavelength characteristics impact each laser's efficiency for cutting. Fiber laser wavelength makes it easy to cut through fiber and material that require a very high concentration of power. These lasers are effective for use in specific sectors such as metal cutting.
The flexibility of CO2 laser wavelengths makes it possible to work with different materials. Hence, these lasers are not limited to cutting metals and can be used for many applications like cutting wood, plastics, acrylic, fabric, and glass. You will easily satisfy customer needs using gas lasers in your applications.
The long-life optical mechanisms of fiber lasers make them an excellent choice among many users. Their lasers are transmitted through a single fiber from the oscillator to the central processing point. The fiber laser transmission process is light-guided, and the fiber is protected from external forces or outside elements like air.
When it comes to CO2 laser transmission, the process may not last long due to the type of reflectors used. These lasers transmit their laser light from the oscillator via reflect lens to the processing point.
A key drawback is that the reflector surface may not be tidy or may wear out quickly. Hence, gas lasers users will require specific skillsets and have to invest in regular maintenance to rest assured of effective operations.
The photoelectric conversion rates between CO2 lasers and fiber lasers vary, which is a crucial facet that affects power consumption during operations. The conversion rate for CO2 laser oscillators is 10-15%, while that of fiber laser is about 30-40%.
This means that fiber lasers can keep power consumption lower when cooling devices, thanks to their higher photoelectric conversion rate. You will require a higher degree of accuracy to manage the cooling temperature of the fiber laser oscillator as compared to when using CO2 lasers. Hence, fiber lasers provide efficient power for laser cutting.
The processing speed between CO2 vs fiber lasers varies because of their respective wavelengths. Even at the same output power, there is a vast difference in the processing speed. This is because there is a large difference in the laser energy absorption rate into commonly used metallic materials.
The absorption of light energy varies at different wavelengths of light. The time each laser takes to convert light energy into heat energy varies. The short time a laser takes to convert light energy into heat energy and then melt a material will create a faster cutting speed or process.
With this in mind, it's best to use a CO2 laser to cut glass and not a fiber laser, which is excellent for cutting metallic materials. For instance, quartz glass absorbs the wavelengths of carbon dioxide lasers better than fiber laser wavelengths. Metals absorb the wavelengths of fiber lasers faster and better.
CO2 lasers are ideal for cutting a wide range of non-metallic materials. This will include textiles, plastics, glass, wood, and stone. Hence, you can use these lasers in pharmaceutical, food packaging, marking PVC, communication gadgets, building materials, and electrical appliances.
Fiber lasers are an excellent choice for cutting metal, engraving, and etching. These lasers are also ideal for industrial cleaning as they are a perfect choice for removing oxides, paint, and rust. Other fiber lasers applications include automobile manufacturing, sheet metal processing, the medical industry, and industrial shipbuilding.
Each type of laser has its strength and distinct applications. It is upon you to decide which laser best suits your needs and is efficient enough to satisfy your needs. In your endeavors, put JPT laser technology in mind as the best company in the world manufactures these lasers.
Shenzhen JPT Opto-electronics Co Ltd is a leading manufacturer of MOPA fiber lasers and will satisfy your needs. The company guarantees high-quality lasers made via advanced and top-notch technologies in the world. Get in touch today and find out more about lasers for cutting.