Some Common Myths about Laser Cutting Speed

This is the laserhead of an AMADA FO-4020NT industrial laser installed at Metaveld BV

Laser cutting speed is an important factor for anybody seeking to get a laser machine. A faster machine is definitely a precious asset as it often translates into higher productivity. But higher speed is usually associated with more expense and for many businesses the most expensive, fastest laser might not necessarily be the most practical for their requirements.

When considering production rate one should remember the following factors:

Cutting speed

It is the rate where the laser cuts through substance.

Traverse speed

It is the rate at which the laser head travels in between cuts from one position to the next.

Acceleration

How long does the laser takes to reach high cutting rates

Deceleration

How quickly can the laser slow down or stop.

Complexity of trimming

For more difficult cutting, the acceleration / deceleration becomes less significant because the short distances will not enable the laser to realize maximum speeds.

Changeover time from sheet to sheet

The time taken to transfer sheets from cutting table.

You have to combine these factors to calculate the real manufacturing time.

A laser cutter’s kilowatt power will determine the actual cutting speed. Although other factors can influence the total manufacturing time, most laser cutting machine can reach the same cutting speed when the power in kilowatts is equal.

Nevertheless, no matter what power in kilowatts, traverse speed is different from one machine to another. So when salespeople claim that their machines are faster than others, they are speaking about the traverse speed. But even though your machine has a very high traverse speed, you save only several seconds when fabricating a sheet of metal because the cutting process takes up most of the fabrication time.

But, the difference in price could be as much as a few hundred million dollars, and if you add servicing, repairs, and spare parts, it is considerably more expensive.

If you are in the market for a laser cutter, you’ll want to determine whether this extra production time justifies the higher price, a figure that should include both the machine price and its associated maintenance costs.

Although cutting speed is the most important consideration for your operation, you must also pay attention to the laser power, laser source, laser cutting speed, acceleration and deceleration, machine traverse speed when considering the purchase your fibre or CO2 laser cutter. Then add in your loading and unloading times to work out your total production time. This will help you to decide which machine gives you the best value for dollar for your operation.

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