For many years already the laser systems are the leading technology utilized by industrial sector to cut various shapes in metal sheets. Substantial development of cutting machines based on this technology, allowed to strengthen light by the implementation of stimulated emission phenomenon. It provided completely new technical and manufacturing capabilities.
History of CO2 technology
First devices of such type were gas and molecular models based on carbon dioxide (CO2), which constituted their active center. They could achieve very large power, therefore allowed to effectively process metals, although their efficiency was limited in the beginning and did not exceed 3%.
Projects optimization, as well as increasing availability of modern and improved materials allowed over many years of the development of this technology to improve the CO2 lasers efficiency to nearly 10%. It is a very good accomplishment, especially if we take into account the fact, that electricity consumption is an extremely important factor in the work of such devices. Due to their numerous physical limitations, continued increase of the efficiency of machinery based on carbon dioxide was impossible. That is why the technology slowly starts to lose its popularity and the users are looking for newer and more effective solutions.
Many scientists have tried to create a completely new type of high-power lasers, which could be used to cut metals. They have turned their attention to semiconductor models, which in recent years are undergoing very dynamic development due to an increased demand all over the world for semiconductor light sources. Numerous tests, analyses and attempts have lead to the creation of fiber lasers, in which the active center is a doped fiber core, pumped thanks to semiconductor lasers. In such active optical fibers the light transformation achieves efficiency of as much as 70%. The result (combined with the efficiency of semiconductor pumps calculated to be around 50%) is nearly 30% efficiency, which is as much as 3 times higher than in the case of traditional CO2 devices.
It can be best illustrated by an example. A CO2 laser with 4kW of output power consumes more or less 40kW, while 4kW fiber laser consumes only 13kW. Therefore, when we compare the machines working with the use of these two technologies we will find out, that fiber are more than twice as energetically efficient as the devices based on carbon dioxide. What is important, it is a technology, which not only limits the electricity usage, but also allows to visibly reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
Economy end effectiveness combined
As a result there is no doubt, that fiber lasers are currently the most effective and the most economical form of metal processing. Their advantages include not only lower electricity consumption in the same working conditions as the machines based on CO2, but also better environmental performance, which no doubt has great importance, especially when it comes to facilities manufacturing on a mass scale.
We realize, that today it is a leading trend, which will continue to develop. We encourage you to find out more about the operational parameters of fiber lasers, as well as their specification, possible application and aspects connected with their speed and performance.