Jan 30, 2015

[2nd in a series of three articles comparing metal-cutting lasers.]

In a previous article we examined the difference in electrical costs between various types of lasers. We can now focus on the cost involved in the generation of the cutting beam.

Fiber lasers as well as disc lasers do not require any lasing gases to generate the beam. CO2 lasers require Helium, Nitrogen, and Carbon dioxide as a minimum (some lasers require Carbon monoxide as well as other noble gases). CO2 lasers also require internal, external wear items, as well as a purge gas (usually Nitrogen) for the external beam guide. The following chart illustrates these added costs.

ANNUAL OPERATING COSTS
Based in 1 Shift (2000 hours) CO2 Disk Fiber
Lasing Gases $360.00 $0.00 $0.00
Internal Resonator Wear Items $9,300.00 $0.00 $0.00
External Optics $2,020.00 $0.00 $0.00
Nozzles $20.00 $20.00 $20.00
Lens $1,260.00 $6.00 $5.00
Lens protector $0.00 $360.00 $240.00
Ceramic $60.00 $40.00 $20.00
Filters $280.00 $0.00 $0.00
Vacuum pump $280.00 $0.00 $0.00
Laser beam path purge gas (N2) $1,500.00 $0.00 $0.00
TOTAL COST $15,080.00 $426.00 $285.00

As you can see there are other costs associated with the CO2 laser that the solid state lasers do not have. Solid state lasers require a fiber cable to transmit the beam to the cutting head. This cable replaces the external mirror requirements and the need to purge the CO2 laser beam path with nitrogen to keep air-born particles out of the CO2 laser beam path. These air-born particles can have a drastic effect on the CO2 laser beam size and quality.

Internal wear items for the CO2 include bending mirrors, rear mirror, output coupler, and transmitter tubes. Missing are the costs associated with resonator cleanings, rebuilds, and complete resonator replacement. This can drive the cost of the CO2 laser to even higher values.

As demonstrated, it is necessary to evaluate the total and true costs of the various lasers when determining which laser has the best value for your dollar.

Laser Resonator Operating Cost Comparison

Call 855-773-7727 to order your fiber laser today! (Or email Info@JMTUSA.com.)

Other Articles in the Series:
Fiber Laser vs. Thin Disk and CO2
Laser Comparison – Cutting Speed and Rate of Feed

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