If you're wanting to laser cut thick metal (over 5mm) then CO2 will be more efficient and faster as far as straight line speeds and piercing times at the beginning of the cut. Additionally, the downside and upside is that CO2 is really only able to process stainless steel, but also organic materials like wood, acrylic, leather, fabric, stone, etc.
Fiber laser beam offers a metal friendly wavelength that is metal absorbs more efficiently. The smaller spot size (1 micron wavelength), and excellent beam profile make it ideal for cutting most any metals. Most notably compared to CO2 fiber has straight line speed that's 2-3x faster when cutting thin sheet metal at 3mm or less.
As far as operating costs fiber needs only about 1/3 the operating power compared to CO2. Also, fiber offers lower down time, less ongoing maintenance all translates to increased productivity.
For this reason fiber has been quickly displacing the traditional CO2 laser in most metal cutting applications.
- stainless steel
- soft steel
- thin sheet metal
- superior speed for <5mm
- operating cost effeciency
- greater reliability
- greater service life