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What are the advantages and disadvantages of fiber laser cutters compared with YAG laser cutting machines? This article will compare the pros and cons of both so that you can choose a better cutting tool.

   Jan 28, 2023    938 (4 Min Read)


Fiber vs. Nd:YAG Laser Cutting Machine - Which is Better?

Fiber Laser Cutter


Fiber laser cutting machine is an automatic cutting tool that uses glass fiber with rare earth elements as the gain medium for sheet metals, metal pipes and profiles. Fiber laser cutters are used for machinery manufacturing, sheet metal fabrication, electronic circuits, textiles and clothing, leather shoes and bags, car accessories, hardware tools, medical equipment, digital products, instruments, gold and silver jewelry, craft gifts.


Pros


• Fiber lasers feature with maintenance-free, long service life, high stability, high precision, high speed, high cutting quality, low energy consumption, and environmental protection.

• The fiber laser beam is generated and guided by an integrally flexible medium, allowing for better and easier delivery of the laser beam to the target location.

• Fiber-based lasers offer high output power compared to other different types of lasers.

• Fiber-based lasers offer high optical gain and have active areas exceeding several kilometers.

• Optical fibers have a high surface-to-volume ratio, enabling continuous kilowatt-scale power output with efficient cooling.

• The fiber's waveguide reduces optical path distortion due to thermal issues.

• Fiber-based lasers are relatively more compact than solid-state or gas lasers (with the same power output) and produce a diffraction-limited, high-quality laser beam.

• Fiber-based lasers offer vibration stability, high temperature tolerance, and extended lifetime at a lower cost.


Cons


• It is usually limited to the field of metal fabrication, and it is unlikely to make a difference in non-metal cutting.

• Fiber lasers are relatively expensive in terms of cost.

• Optical fiber material is easy to break.

• Due to the thin fiber core, the single pulse energy is very small compared to other types of lasers.


YAG Laser Cutter


YAG laser cutting machine is a solid laser cutting system based on yttrium aluminum garnet crystal. The chemical formula of yttrium aluminum garnet is Y3Al5O15, referred to as YAG. Like other solid-state lasers, the basic YAG laser components are working substance, pump source and resonant cavity.


Due to the different types of active ions doped in the crystal, the different pumping sources and pumping methods, the different structures of the resonant cavities used, and the different functional structural devices used, YAG lasers can be divided into many types. According to the output waveform, it can be divided into continuous wave, repeated frequency and pulsed YAG lasers. According to the laser wavelength, it is divided into 1.06μm, frequency doubling, Raman shift and tunable YAG lasers. According to different doping, it can be divided into Nd:YAG lasers and YAG lasers doped with Ho, Tm, Er. According to the shape of the crystal, it can be divided into rod-shaped and slab-shaped YAG lasers. According to different output power, it can be divided into high power, medium power, and low power YAG lasers.


YAG laser cutter expands, reflects and focuses the pulsed laser beam with a wavelength of 1.06 μm, radiates and heats the surface of the material, and the surface heat diffuses to the inside through heat conduction, and the width, energy, peak power, repetition frequency and other parameters instantly melt and vaporize the material, so that the cutting of the predetermined trajectory can be realized through the CNC controller system.


Pros


• YAG laser cutting machine features with good beam quality, high efficiency, low cost, stability, safety, precision and high reliability. It is an ideal precision and efficient flexible cutting tool.


• The cutting speed is fast, the efficiency is high, the economic benefit is good, the straight edge slit is small, the cutting surface is smooth, and the large depth-to-diameter ratio and depth-to-width ratio can be obtained. The thermal deformation is extremely small, and it can be processed on various materials such as hard, brittle and soft. There is no problem of tool wear and replacement in cutting, no mechanical change, easy to realize automation, and processing can be realized under special conditions. High pump efficiency, up to about 20%. With the increase of efficiency, the heat load of the laser medium decreases, so the beam is greatly improved. Long quality life, high reliability, small size, light weight, suitable for miniaturized applications.


Cons


• Low photoelectric conversion efficiency and high cost of use;

• There is an internal temperature gradient in the YAG laser rod during the working process, which will cause thermal stress and thermal lens effect, which limits the further improvement of the average power and beam quality of the YAG laser;

• The maintenance of the YAG laser is troublesome, the structure is complicated, and The cost is also relatively high.

• The structure is complex, the power supply is large in size, and requires an optical path to work.


Fiber vs. Nd:YAG Laser Cutting Machine


Cutting Speed


The fiber laser cutting speed is 4~5 times that of YAG laser, which is suitable for mass processing and production.


Cost


The fiber laser cutter can achieve the effect of YAG laser with low power, which reduces the cost of cutting and achieves high efficiency with low energy consumption.


Photoelectric Conversion Efficiency


The photoelectric conversion efficiency of fiber laser cutting machine is about 10 times that of YAG laser cutting machine.

License: The text of "Fiber vs. Nd:YAG Laser Cutting Machine - Which is Better?" by STYLECNC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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