Laser power increases productivity

It appears obvious that laser power equals productivity. This example explains just how true this is in concrete terms. A typical manufacturing part is selected:

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

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

The technological effects:

More laser power results in an almost linear increase in cutting speed!

Not only does power equal productivity, it also affects the quality. For the majority of applications, increasing the power puts less heat into the material due to the increased cutting speed, which improves the edge sharpness.

Economic effect:

Faster cutting speed means shorter production times and more productivity per hour.

As the power increases, the number of units produced per hour also increases. The faster you cut, the more important it is to have a machine with high dynamic motion capability: particularly speed and acceleration. The machine must be able to achieve fast cutting speeds (velocity) and carry out direction changes quickly (acceleration) so as not to restrict productivity.

We used the EAGLE iNspire® laser cutting machine for this test, which has achieved a top speed of 350 m/min and acceleration of 6G – the world's fastest laser cutting machine. The dynamic movement of iNspire is more than sufficient to ensure that the machine movement only has a minimal effect on the test results.

Of course, productivity has a tremendous influence on unit costs.

 

The 100 EUR hourly rate has been selected as a typical cost for operating a 4kW laser. This is not the amount that a company would charge to perform work on the machine, it is the total operating cost. The total operating cost includes the machine operating cost, labor, overheads, and machine payments/depreciation. It is clear that as the power is increased, the machine throughput increases faster than the overall operating costs. The owner of the laser cutting machine has the opportunity to complete more work with more profit with a high-power laser.

Switching to percentages for the same data set, you can see that the owner of a 10kW machine has a 188% production increase in comparison to an increase of just 19% in the total operating cost of the 4kW system. The owner of a 15kW machine gains 333% of additional production for a 23% increase in the total operating cost in comparison to the 4kW system!

What about the cost per part?

When you take all of the aspects of laser power, productivity and total operating cost into consideration, you end up with a graph like this. Power equals productivity, and also profit.

Conclusion

We would be delighted to help you to carry out a study of your specific parts and cost structure, and the result will be the same. If a laser machine is fully utilized, greater power will probably generate significantly higher profits.

And now back to the initial statement: The market for laser cutting machines is experiencing a dynamic change process: This concerns permanently increasing the power of the fiber laser. Unlike many other cutting processes, a gradual increase in power has taken place in fiber lasers. Of course, beam delivery, cutting head technology, and machine tool design have to keep up with the power increase in order to ensure that fiber lasers maintain their 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 to analyze your production to see for yourself how power equals productivity within your company.

 

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