With the addition of coil feeding, laser cutting takes a strong shot at a bastion of hard-tooled blanking: cutting automotive body-panel blanks from advanced high-strength steels.
Some of the most popular metal materials also have an inherent problem.
Advances in diode laser technology have led to a broader range of cutting options.
Editor’s Note: Don Hoffman has decades of experience with laser cutters and brings to the table a combination of independence, research skills, and thoughtful analysis. Here he tackles a moving target, with appropriate care and cautions, to write a useful guide to the relative per-part costs with CO2 and fiber lasers.
Robinson Metal takes to heart the old adage about not keeping too many eggs in one basket
Relative speeds and costs dominate the fiber-versus-CO2 comparison, but the 10:1 difference in wavelengths has other consequences for the laser user. The speed race has evolved since this story was first published in a laser association journal, but not the practical issues related to wavelength. Also, it addressed 3D laser cutting; the principles still hold for 2D. Consider this essential background for anyone who wants to understand more about using fiber and CO2. For the latest on speeds, as they say in the car business, call for today’s prices.