As technology evolves, our means of metal fabrication evolve, too. Laser cutting is an efficient way to burn away metal and produce continuous, precise cuts. CO2 lasers are the tried-and-true standard, but industrial fiber lasers have grown in popularity over the past few decades. Their fast processing speeds and lower power consumption make them a powerful asset.
Metaltech Products welcomes a new fiber laser cutting machine to its shop floor. The Trumpf TruLaser 5030 has replaced one of Metaltech’s older CO2 lasers, the TruLaser 2030. Fiber lasers enhance efficiency and expand laser cutting capabilities across a broader range of materials.
Fiber Lasers vs. CO2 Lasers: What’s the Difference?
Fiber and CO2 laser cutting machines operate in different ways. CO2 lasers use oxygen or nitrogen assist gases to generate the laser beam and shape the cut. These machines also employ optical mirrors, fans and other moving parts.
Fiber lasers create light with a series of diodes inside a fiber optic cable. The light moves through the cable, and a lens focuses it onto the workpiece. Using a fiber laser cutting machine eliminates the possibility of back reflections, which harm CO2 machines.
The Benefits of Fiber Laser Cutting Machines
Fiber laser machines supplement and improve many aspects of laser cutting. Metal fabricators can offer more cutting capabilities and material choices with a fiber laser at their disposal.
1. Higher Cutting Speeds—Reduced Lead Times
Fiber lasers are faster at cutting carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum and copper. They possess a higher density beam than CO2 lasers, which means they can melt and cut through material faster.
For example, the CO2 TruLaser 2030 can cut around 125 inches per minute on 7ga steel. The fiber TruLaser 5030 can cut the same steel at 625 inches per minute. That’s four times the cutting speed.
The difference in cutting speed is even more significant for certain materials. With 0.125” aluminum sheets, the CO2 TruLaser 2030 cuts around 170 inches per minute. The fiber TruLaser 5030 cuts at rates 10 times that speed—about 1,900 inches per minute.
Faster fiber laser cutting speed reduces lead time and increases throughput.
2. Improved Cut Quality—Cleaner Edges
Fiber lasers use a focused, fully-sealed beam of light. The small focus allows for cutting tight tolerances. Compared to their CO2 counterparts, fiber lasers hold tighter tolerances and improve cut quality, creating cleaner edges.
A workpiece’s edges affect other phases of the manufacturing process. Cleaner edge quality produces more accurate, controlled parts during the rest of manufacturing. All in all, cleaner edges help create a better end product.
3. Increased Capabilities—More Materials
Fiber lasers aren’t just for thin materials. Depending on the machine’s power, fiber lasers can cut thick materials with ease. The fiber TruLaser 5030 has 10,000 watts of cutting power, making it effective for thick and thin materials.
Some materials, such as copper and brass, cannot be cut using a CO2 laser. Reflective metals aren’t used with CO2 lasers because they send back the wavelengths the laser directs at them. In other words, the metal’s reflection harms the machine’s lens. Fiber laser machines are not designed like CO2 machines. The advanced technology utilized within a fiber laser allows for fabricators to cut reflective materials.
Trumpf 5030 Fiber Laser: Cutting Capabilities
Metaltech’s new Trumpf TruLaser 5030 takes a maximum sheet size of 120” by 60” and includes automated loading and unloading. The Trumpf 5030’s fiber cutting capabilities are as follows:
- Mild Steel – 1.18” (30 mm)
- Stainless Steel – 1.50” (40 mm)
- Aluminum – 1.00” (25 mm)
- Copper – 0.39” (10 mm)
- Brass – 0.50” (12.7 mm)
If you’re ready to start a fabrication project, we can produce your component parts from design to delivery.