Fiber or CO2 Laser Cutting?

Fiber laser cutting and CO2 laser cutting are two popular methods of laser cutting that use different types of laser technology to cut materials such as mild steel, stainless steel and aluminium. Although most of the main laser machine manufacturers do not make CO2 lasers anymore, many companies such as GF Laser operate both types of machine.

From a customer perspective the physical laser cut part is pretty much the same. However, in our experience the more stable/smaller beam of a fiber laser allows for smaller holes to be cut in thicker material. The big difference for the customer is that the end product is less expensive because the manufacturing costs associated with Fiber Lasers are much less than CO2.

Here are some of the main differences between the two:

  1. Laser source: The primary difference between fiber laser cutting and CO2 laser cutting is the type of laser source used. Fiber lasers use a solid-state laser source, while CO2 lasers use a gas laser source.
  2. Wavelength: Fiber lasers have a shorter wavelength than CO2 lasers, which allows them to cut through metals with greater speed and efficiency.
  3. Cutting speed: Fiber lasers are generally faster than CO2 lasers, especially when cutting through thin metals.
  4. Power consumption: Fiber lasers consume less power than CO2 lasers, making them more energy-efficient.
  5. Maintenance: CO2 lasers require more maintenance than fiber lasers due to the complexity of their gas laser source.
  6. Cutting thickness: CO2 lasers used to be generally better suited for cutting thicker materials, while fiber lasers were better suited for cutting thinner materials. Although with the latest brightline technology we use on our Trumpf lasers we are able to cut up to 20mm thick on a par with CO2 speed and quality.

Whilst GF Laser aim to replace their remaining CO2 lasers with Fiber machines the CO2 machines are still utilised on a daily basis. If you have any specific laser cutting requirements please contact us today.