Two New Laser Cutting Systems at Laser Precision: A Cut Above
March 22, 2023
Laser Precision is constantly searching for new ways to quickly deliver higher quality parts to our customers. For that reason, we recently added a Mitsubishi GX-F 10 kW and a Mitsubishi GX-F 12 kW fiber laser cutting system to our shop floor, replacing some of our older Mitsubishi CO2 units. “Our research found that single source laser technology can have significant advantages over their CO2 predecessors in certain applications,” said Corporate Vice President Cameron Adams. “Fiber lasers can provide a smoother, cleaner fabrication process that helps us maintain our high precision and delivery standards.”
In a CO2 laser, the beam is directed to the laser head through a series of mirrors and lenses to form the cutting beam. Fiber lasers have a less complex, more efficient design that doesn’t require these optical components. The resulting laser beam is more precise than other types of lasers because it is straighter and smaller.
More Power = More Productivity
CO2 Lasers accompanied with oxygen as an assistant gas generate large amounts of heat. The older CO2 lasers on the floor at Laser Precision are 4.5 kW. Compare that to our new fiber lasers, which are 10 kW and 12 kW, and you begin to see the potential. “The more energy you can draw from the laser into the metal, the more powerful and efficient your cut will be,” Adams said. “Just like a car has additional power with more cylinders, lasers can run more productively with more wattage.”
Added Sustainability, Plenty of Cost Savings
A substantial portion of CO2 expense is electrical consumption. The simpler design of the fiber laser means a lot of conserved energy. “Fiber lasers are anywhere from 30 to 50% more efficient on electric consumption,” said Adams. “So, it’s good for the environment. Plus, we’ll save a lot on energy costs.”
More Materials, Happier Customers
Fiber lasers can also cut thicker materials more efficiently, allowing Laser Precision to fabricate an expanded selection of materials, including copper and thicker sheets of aluminum, stainless steel and mild steels. “This is good news for all our customers who work with a wider range of metals,” Adams said.
Cleaner Cut, Saved Time
The oxygen used as an assist gas in the CO2 laser cutting process while stable, leaves a layer of oxide (also known as scale) on the material. This must be removed before the part can proceed down the line. Fiber lasers can use high pressure nitrogen to exclude oxygen from the cutting zone, preventing the metal from oxidizing. The result is a clean edge that does not require any secondary steps after the cutting is complete.
Footprint Optimization, Bonus Potential
Fiber lasers pack a bigger punch in the same space. Fitting more machines means more throughput per square foot. “If we put in four more fiber machines, which is currently our plan, that’s effectively the same as 10 to12 CO2 lasers,” Adams said. “We’ll be able to set up our shop floor more efficiently, which increases the speed of our workflow.”
The two new Mitsubishi fiber lasers at Laser Precision are easy to use by operators of all skill levels, with intuitive, smartphone-like controls. The lasers also have AI augmentation which has proven to be nothing short of extraordinary. They have been designed to minimize the need for operator input while maximizing quality and productivity. Tasks such as nozzle changes are now completely automated by the laser cell. “Being able to turn out quality products with the same experienced operators ensures will continue to have a positive impact on our output,” Cameron said. “That keeps parts consistently going out the door for on-time delivery.”
Is CO2 Dead?
Cameron says there is no need to mourn the passing of the CO2 laser cutter. “We are keeping four of our 2018 and 2019 Mitsubishi 3015 EX +45s,” he said. “They are dependable and stable, and we know exactly what they do best to maximize the value delivered into our end product,” he said. “The CO2s still have plenty of value for us and give us added flexibility to adapt to our customers’ needs. The new lasers are the next evolution in laser cutting for our business.”
Do you have a job that could benefit from this ultra-productive fiber laser cutting equipment? Just contact us. We’re ready to talk all about your next project.