I just came back from China for an intensive training on fiber optics laser metal cutting machine. The course was offered by HSG laser, an alliance of LightObject, who is one of the fastest growing fiber cutter machine manufacturer in China. Their techs are very knowledgeable and machines are well made.
Technically speaking, there are three different classes of fiber laser cutting machine available in China. But all those 3 different classes are sharing similar structure, though. Of course, the result of cutting and the cost are quite a bit difference.
1) Belt driven: low cost, low power, less expensive, moderate to high precision, moderate speed
2) Ball Screw: mid cost, low to high power, moderate expensive, very high precision, low speed
3) Gear wheel: high cost, mid to high power, expensive, high precision, high speed
For the 'Gear wheel' model, there is an optional attachment available for 'tube' cutting feature. The tube doesn't has to be round shape, but it could be in square, triangle, or hex.... It could be as small as 1" to 10" in diameter. You can make any cut in any shape and any size at will. It support AutoCad DXF or G-code
Belt driven fiber laser machine is similar to a regular CO2 laser machine but with a dynamic auto focus laser head system. So, the whole laser head attachment move up or down freely to a fixed focus point against an object being cut. Because of belt elastic, a minor offset error could happen.
300W: $50,000 ~ $55,000
Cut: 3mm steel, 1.5mm stainless steal, 0.8mm aluminum
500W: $62,000 ~ $75,000
Cut: 4mm steel, 2mm stainless steal, 1mm aluminum
Gear driven/ ball screw:
Gear driven, on the contrary, is having very high accuracy because no belt elastic issue. It reacts much faster than belt driven machine.
700W: $110,000 ~ $180,000
Cut: 8mm steel, 3mm stainless steal, 2mm aluminum
1000W: $140,000 ~ $225,000
Cut: 12mm steel, 5mm stainless steal, 4mm aluminum
Installing a belt driven fiber laser is pretty easy because the size of that is usually limited to 2500x1300 or smaller.
Plus, the requirement for smaller laser is much less than a 700W or bigger fiber laser. Leveling is an extremely important for a Gear driven fiber laser machine because of the heavy weigh gantry and imbalance means stress over the bearing. Beside that, there is linear guide/rack could wear out quick if leveling is not being fine tuned. Trust me, to level a G3015 machine is not easy! The weight of the 3015 is way over 9000lb so level jack is required and two level gauge is needed. If the unit is coming with housing and/or material loader (double power bed), things are more complicated during installation
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