Fiber laser is an innovation in sheet metal cutting
Lasers have been used in industry for many years. Thanks to them, even the most demanding production, such as cars, work machines, and other heavy elements, is facilitated.
However, the real revolution in this field was brought by the fiber laser. It is a special kind of solid laser. In it, the medium of active amplification is an optical fiber doped with rare elements. These elements are earth, erbium, ytterbium, neodymium, dysprosium, praseodymium, thulium and holmium.
The active core material is excited by light energy from the diode pump so that directed light is emitted along the fiber. It then transitions into an inactive fiber. In this way, the creation of laser light is ensured without the consumption of expensive technical gases.
When was the fiber laser created?
Although it belongs to the most modern technology, the fiber laser has a history almost as long as the CO2 laser. It was constructed by American physicist Elias Snitzer in 1963. However, it took 2 decades for it to come into commercial use. This means that the first models appeared on the market only in the 80s.
This lasers used a single-mode diode pump and emitted several tens of milliwatts. However, many laser cuts require watts, not milliwatts. Therefore, the development of fiber lasers continued in the following decades.
A significant step occurred in 1990 when the watt-level fiber laser saw the light of day. That is a 4-W model that is doped with erbium. It was he who laid the foundation for single-mode fiber lasers of ten and more watts suitable for micromachining.
Using the basic multi-fiber side-splicing technology, the first 100 W diffraction-limited fiber laser appeared in 2000. Its high brightness was also used for low-power welding, sintering, and soldering.
Why choose a fiber laser instead of a CO2 laser?
A CO2 laser requires a high voltage to generate a laser beam , as it uses a gas mixture. Unlike it, when fiber cutting, the consumption of electricity is not high. Actually, fiber laser of 2 KW during operation uses a third of the power of a CO2 laser of 4 KW.
In addition to efficiency in terms of power consumption, maintenance costs are also significantly lower. A fiber laser does not require expensive optical mirrors like other types. The reason for this lies in the fact that the laser beam is delivered via an optical cable. This reduces power loss.
The design of the laser itself brings additional savings. Namely, the focus lens is located inside the cutting head. Given that it is not exposed to external influences, with proper maintenance, it has a long service life. That way, you won't have to constantly budget for its replacement.
Advantages of using fiber laser
Fiber laser enables cutting with high precision on metal up to 15 mm thick. The focal point is smaller, and the cutting line is thinner, thus avoiding possible deformations. Also, the formation of scratches on the material being cut is eliminated, because the laser head does not touch its surface.
Another important advantage is the high speed of processing, which no other species has. Marking can last less than one second, and marking and cutting with this laser is rightfully declared the fastest laser technology. Which is especially important in mass production.
In earlier years, the use of lasers was limited due to the reflection of the material. Even highly reflective materials such as brass, aluminum and copper can be cut with fiber lasers.
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