Laser power correlates to productivity

It is somewhat intuitive that laser power equals productivity. This example explains in concrete terms just how true this is. A typical fabrication part is chosen:

Material: Mild steel St 37
Material thickness: 8mm  (0.3”)
Cut length per part: 1975 mm   (77.8”)
Total size: 210 x 287mm (8.3 x 11.3”)

 

This example shows only a small part of the complex world of laser cutting technology. Varying material type, thickness, cut pattern, machine dynamic motion, and laser parameters will generate different results, however, the trend will remain.

Technological effects:

More laser power increases cutting speed practically linearly!

Not only does power equal productivity, it also relates to quality. For most applications, higher power puts less heat into the material due to the increased cut speed, thereby producing a better edge.

Economic effect:

Higher cutting speed means shorter production times and higher productivity per hour.

As power increases, the number of units produced in an hour also increases. The faster you cut the more important it is to have a machine with high dynamic motion capabilities: mainly velocity and acceleration. The machine must be able to reach cutting speed (velocity) and come in and out of direction changes quickly (acceleration) so as not to limit the productivity.

For this test we used the Eagle iNspire® machine tool, which achieves positioning speed up to 350m/min (5,900 ipm) and an acceleration of 6g – as the quickest laser cutting machine in the world. The iNspire’s dynamic motion is more than enough to ensure machine motion has minimal impact on the test results.

Productivity naturally has an enormous influence on unit costs.

The 100 EUR total hourly cost is chosen as a typical cost for operating a 4kW laser. This is not the amount a shop would charge to perform work on the machine, it is the total operating cost. Total operating cost includes machine operating cost, labour, overhead, and machine payments/depreciation. It is clear that as you increase power the machine throughput goes up faster than the total operating cost. The laser owner has an opportunity to complete more work at higher profit with a high-power laser.

Switching to percentages for the same data set, you can see that the owner of a 10kW machine gains 188% of production compared just a 19% increase in total operating cost of the 4kW system. For the owner of a 15kW Technology gains 333% of additional production by 23% increase in total operating cost compare with the 4kW system!

What if we look at cost per part?

When you put all aspects of laser power, productivity, and total operating cost you end up with a graph such as this. Power equals productivity, and also profits.

Conclusion

We will be happy to help you carry out a study on your specific parts and cost structure and the result will be the same. If you have the work to fill a laser machine, then higher power will very likely deliver much higher profits.

And now back to the first statement: The laser machine market is experiencing a dynamic change: the steady increase in fiber laser power. Unlike many other cutting processes, fiber laser has seen, and will continue to see, gradual power increases. Of course, beam delivery, cutting head technology, and machine tool design must keep up with the power increase to ensure fiber laser maintains the reputation for reliability and low operating cost. As the pioneer of high-power laser technology and ultra-fast machine tool design, Eagle can help you analyse your production to see how power equals productivity in your shop.

 

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