Fiber Laser vs. CO2 Laser: Which One Should You Buy?

Few things are as inherently impressive as using lasers to cut metals. When evaluating what laser to add to your business, it’s important to compare Fiber laser vs Co2 laser to know which is the better choice for you.

 

Fiber Laser vs Co2 Laser

The easiest way to determine which laser is better suited to your needs is to provide a direct comparison between the two. First, let’s take a look at the Fiber laser.

Fiber Laser

A relatively new invention compared to the CO2 laser, the Fiber laser is a powerful upgrade that offers key benefits that specifically appeal to metalworkers.

Power

When cutting flat sheet metals, Fiber can comfortably sit among the 10 kW – 12 kW range (A 100 kW fiber laser has been measured with Rayleigh scattering-based instruments), which CO2 has yet to do. When comparing a 2 kW Fiber laser to a 4 kW CO2 laser, the Fiber laser also manages to achieve a 5x greater power density at the focal point.

Speed

A second significant benefit is the amount of time saved by using a Fiber laser. Ready to go from the start (compared to the 10-minute startup of the CO2 laser), Fiber lasers cut metals up to an inch thick with incredible speed. The reduction of startup time and relatively faster production time results in a nice fabrication efficiency boost.

Cost and Maintenance

Beyond the practical benefits, the lower cost of use and relatively low maintenance need are enormous perks for Fiber lasers. When comparing two lasers of similar size, the CO2 laser will consume ~70kW at maximum power. The Fiber laser consumes a mere 18 kW in comparison.

Over time, this means that Fiber lasers run at about 50% of the cost.

Co2 Laser

Maintenance wise, CO2 lasers need clean mirrors, regular bellow checks, and beams to align. Fiber lasers have no moving parts, existing with next to no maintenance.

Finesse

Fiber lasers are notably more stable and safer to use around reflective metals. They also outperform other lasers in every category on metals less than 5/16 inches thick.

Materials

Outclassed when it comes to metals, the CO2 laser dominates the organics market; materials such as wood, textiles, rubbers, and plastics are much better with a CO2 laser than a fiber laser.

Due to their proficiency in this area, CO2 lasers are often used to mark PVC pipes, pharmaceutical and food packing, electrical appliances, and even mobile devices.

Thickness

Fiber lasers can cut thick materials without issue, but CO2 lasers produce faster piercing times, which leaves a smoother finish. This shorter piercing time also means that CO2 cuts quicker in a straight line.

Initial Cost

Fiber lasers won the maintenance and use-cost battle, but they lose when it comes to the initial price tag. CO2 lasers clock in at around $35,000 – $80,000, while Fiber lasers rock a neat $40,000 – $1,000,000 buy-in fee. For professional consultation or to look at possible buying options.

 

Cutting to the Point

The answer can be somewhat complicated when it comes to fiber laser vs Co2 laser for your company. Both offer significant benefits in different scenarios, and only you will know what those scenarios are.

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