Laser-cutting technology has come a long way in the past few years. The machines have become approachable and sleek in their design, and the precision and speed have improved immensely. Today, there are several laser cutting devices available in the market, but the only point of difference between them is whether they are tube laser cutting devices or fiber laser cutting machines.
This has led to a lot of confusion in the manufacturing community. Many people are unaware of the difference between a tube and a fiber laser cutting machine.
While both these technologies have their own merits, it is pertinent to mention here that fiber laser cutting is a newer technology and is preferred by many new-age industries. If you are looking to install a laser device in your setup, you must research extensively on both these technologies to see which of them suits your needs and requirements. In this article, however, we will talk about some major points of difference between tube and fiber laser cutting machines. Our goal here is to simplify things for you and make your job easier.
The tube-cutting device and the laser-cutting machine differ primarily in their manner of functioning.
Tube laser cutting machine
The tube-cutting device uses a tube full of mirrors to pump the light beam through the cutting head. The medium of travel is CO2 to enhance precision. When a significant amount of light is directed at a small surface, the surface melts and sublimates due to high temperature.
Due to excessive heat, the targeted metal is sublimated and sucked through a vacuum. This is how the purpose is served using tube laser cutting machines.
The limitation of this device is that you will have to place the mirrors at a certain angle for optimum results, which limits the range.
Fiber laser cutting machine
Fiber laser cutting is a relatively new technology where a fiber generator is used to achieve the purpose. This generator produces an output that is a high-energy, high-density laser beam.
Fiber-cutting devices use a fiber laser generator that pumps the light beam through optical fiber cables. Hence, you can place the laser cutting head close to the plasma cutting sheet, which increases the speed of cutting considerably.
This laser beam is accumulated on the processing surface. As a result, the targeted surface lights up and melts instantly. Additionally, the melted part is vaporized due to a high focal point. Fibre laser cutting is popularly used in automation setups where the focus point is shifted through a numerical mechanical control system. This system is efficient because it is high-speed and high-precision.
If your industry relies heavily on automation, tube laser-cutting devices might not be the right fit for you because they require manual supervision. Fiber laser cutting devices, on the other hand, use a fiber generator that produces a high-density, high-beam laser that accumulates on the surface of the processing material and illuminates it.
As a result, the material in question vaporizes and is collected by a vacuum. The concentrated focus point is responsible for vaporization, which is an essential property in an automated setup. In such a setup, you can shift the focus point through a numerical-mechanical control system, thereby achieving high speed and high precision.
The structure of the device
The primary difference between the two kinds of laser devices is the medium used. In the tube laser cutting device, CO2 is used as the medium, whereas diodes are used to pump the light beam in the fiber laser cutting device.
The multiple diodes pump the laser beam to the cutting head using an optical fiber cable, which offers greater flexibility. In a tube laser cutting device, the efficiency relies on the mirrors’ placement.
On the other hand, the fiber laser cutting machine is not limited by range. That is to say; a fiber laser cutting device can be placed next to the plasma cutting bed and perform the task. To summarize, we can say that fiber cutting device system is more compact than the tube-cutting device.
Fiber lasers use short-wavelength lights and characteristics which are absorbed better by the cutting material and are more efficient in the case of non-conductive metals such as brass and coppers. Additionally, the small focus point helps in the efficient and expedient cutting of the metals.
Thus, thinner materials can be cut more efficiently by fiber laser devices. However, for 6mm thick sheets, the cutting speed of a 1.5kW fiber laser device and a 3kW tube laser device is the same. But fiber laser devices are 86% more energy efficient, so they are more feasible overall.
Fiber-laser machines are more expensive than conventional laser-cutting machines. But if the power and material of your application are similar, then a fiber laser device will be more feasible overall.
In this article, we discussed the primary point of differences between the two technologies. Other than the aforementioned, one of the primary differences also lies in the fact that fiber laser cutting machines are more energy efficient.
Due to the close range to the plasma cutting sheet, the fiber laser cutting device can cut through a 6mm thick surface with 1.5kW output only. In contrast, the tube-cutting laser printer requires 3kW of power to achieve the same output in the same amount of time. To summarize, there are some great tube-cutting printers out there, but fiber laser-cutting devices are more in synchronization with future technology. That being said, each of these laser-cutting machines has its unique uses and advantages over the others, which you should be mindful of while making the investment.