It has been reported that David Larcombe, managing director of Bystronic UK, has revealed that since August 2015 the company has not sold a single CO2 laser cutting machine in Britain or Ireland. It has, however, sold 14 fiber laser models during November and December last year alone.
Half of those were for high power models launched at the EuroBLECH 2016 show held in Hannover, Germany at the end of October last year. Two of the seven high power machines were 8kW, with the remainder equipped with the 10kW fiber laser source, the most powerful currently available from Bystronic.
Says Larcombe: “Of the seven lower power fiber laser machines we sold during the last two months of 2016, five were 6kW, while the other two were rated at 4kW and 2kW. There is still a demand for the latter, competitively priced fiber models from manufacturers processing only thinner gauge materials.”
That said, he believes that higher power fiber laser machines are the future, as they can cut thicker plate and produce superior quality edge. The 10kW fiber source is able to process
25mm mild steel and 30mm stainless steel and aluminium. Fiber also allows reflective materials to be cut safely. The same source can tackle 15mm brass and 12mm copper, formerly the province of waterjet or plasma cutting machines.
More importantly, says Larcombe, is the ability of the 10kW source to cut mid-range thickness materials much faster. Mild and stainless steels in the 3 to 6mm range, for example, can be profiled 2.5 to 3 times faster than with a 6kW fiber laser, providing a massive boost to productivity.