Laser Comparison – Cutting Speed And Rate of Feed

[Final installment in a series of three articles comparing metal-cutting lasers.]

In two previous articles we examined the differences in electrical costs and resonator operating costs between the various types of metal fabrication lasers.
We can recap the previous articles by looking at chart #1 below. It shows the operating cost over 8 years for a 4kW laser.

Chart 1
We can also see by chart #2 the actual differences of energy consumption for solid state lasers.
Chart 2
The differences in the operating cost are based on the maintenance and the efficiency of the style of laser being used. Chart #3 illustrates the different efficiencies for the various cutting lasers.
Chart 3
The final piece of the puzzle for laser processing is the cutting speed. Approximately 80% of the time while the program is running the laser is cutting, this is the majority of the processing time. The cutting capabilities of the laser is directly proportional to the beam quality and beam waste of the laser. Chart #4 illustrates the characteristics for the four cutting lasers.
Chart 4
Things to be aware of are the mode quality, beam waste, spot size, and depth of field. The depth of field generated by the laser will affect the cut quality and the thickness of the materials processed. The depth of field is the usable portion of the unfocused beam. This occurs on both sides if the beam waste (smallest spot size). As the focal position is shifted up and down to enhance cutting the operator must always keep the material within the depth of field or the material will stop cutting.

Finally I would like to share some comparative cutting charts to show the difference in feedrates for the CO2, Disk, and Fiber lasers.

STEEL (USING O2)

MATERIAL FEEDRATES 
   CO2DiskFiber
 inchmm4.0Kw4.0kW4.0kW
   in/minin/minin/min
Steel0.0401.0280340319
O20.0601.5210252260
 0.0802.0170200224
 0.1002.5130173173
 0.1203.0120150151
 0.1804.5110130132
 0.2506.4100110110
 0.3759.5707585
 0.50012.7565260
 0.62516.0384145
 0.75020.0323033

STEEL (USING N2)

MATERIAL FEEDRATES 
   CO2DiskFiber
 inchmm4.0Kw4.0kW4.0kW
   in/minin/minin/min
Steel0.0401.036016822362
N20.0601.526011861417
 0.0802.0200910760
 0.1002.5170500550
 0.1203.0140374380
 0.1804.580200213
 0.2506.4508995

STEEL (USING AIR)

MATERIAL FEEDRATES 
   CO2DiskFiber
 inchmm4.0Kw4.0kW4.0kW
   in/minin/minin/min
Steel0.0401.0720 2126
Air0.0601.5470 1417
 0.0802.0350 756
 0.1002.5  472

STAINLESS STEEL (N2)

MATERIAL FEEDRATES 
   CO2DiskFiber
 inchmm4.0Kw4.0kW4.0kW
   in/minin/minin/min
Stainless0.0401.040016822362
Steel0.0601.529011601654
N20.0802.0230886886
 0.1002.5195610610
 0.1203.0160334354
 0.1804.5100177197
 0.2506.480120138
 0.3759.5282559
 0.50012.7161639
 0.62516.0141228

ALUMINUM (N2)

MATERIAL FEEDRATES 
   CO2DiskFiber
 inchmm4.0Kw4.0kW4.0kW
   in/minin/minin/min
Aluminum0.0401.04208452126
N20.0601.53205011417
 0.0802.0260354756
 0.1002.5215265425
 0.1203.0170177402
 0.1804.560132170
 0.2506.44092100
 0.3759.5104045
 0.50012.7 2021

ALUMINUM (AIR)

MATERIAL FEEDRATES 
   CO2DiskFiber
 inchmm4.0Kw4.0kW4.0kW
   in/minin/minin/min
 Aluminum0.0401.046021652165
Air0.0601.530012191417
 0.0802.0210680756

COPPER (O2)

MATERIAL FEEDRATES 
   CO2DiskFiber
 inchmm4.0Kw4.0kW4.0kW
   in/minin/minin/min
Copper0.0401.0N/A7651701
O20.0601.5N/A472898
 0.0802.0N/A315591
 0.1002.5N/A215378
 0.1203.0N/A115236
 0.1804.5N/A47113
 0.2005.0N/A3580

BRASS (N2)

MATERIAL FEEDRATES 
   CO2DiskFiber
 inchmm4.0Kw4.0kW4.0kW
   in/minin/minin/min
Brass0.0401.0N/A7872126
N20.0601.5N/A4721063
 0.0802.0N/A335591
 0.1002.5N/A242378
 0.1203.0N/A150236
 0.1804.5N/A80106
 0.2506.4N/A4242