If you’ve owned a CO2 laser cutting machine then you are familiar with the periodic maintenance required for optics, beam path bellows, beam and nozzle alignments, not to mention oil changes and filters for the vacuum pump. The time required to fulfill these maintenance tasks equates to a significant portion of non-productive time accumulated for each CO2 machine. In addition, each time you start the CO2 resonator it takes about 10 minutes until you are fully capable of cutting, again contributing to non-productive time.
Tangible and Intangible Profits
When looking at Fiber technology and considering the productivity benefits of cutting two to three times more parts per unit of time, and consuming less than half of the operating costs compared to CO2, it is fairly obvious why Fiber lasers have become so popular. But these are what we consider tangible potential profits based on performance metrics such as speed and cost of operations. The intangible potential profits are derived from the additional machine capacity that is being created. Because you are able to produce two to three times more parts, you have now created more machine capacity to cut even more parts. Because you are more cost competitive, there is also the added flexibility to expand into industries you were unable to compete prior to purchasing the fiber laser.
Additional Machine Capacity
Intangible profits are also derived directly from the additional machine capacity and the less overall costs that are realized by not performing maintenance tasks typical of a CO2 laser. Not having to perform maintenance on optics, the beam path bellows and purge system, the vacuum pump and other related tasks again frees up more machine capacity. Not having to wait 10 minutes until the resonator is at full operating potential on a daily basis is another capacity opportunity gained. Yet another overlooked benefit is the fact that the beam alignment and the beam size never changes on the fiber, allowing for consistency of cut and repeatability of parameters on a daily basis. This benefit provides additional machine capacity by not having to spend time tweaking the parameters and also due to the fact that the parts are always consistent in cut quality from shift to shift and from day to day.
Justifying the Fiber Purchase
When looking at fiber lasers there are both tangible and intangible profit potentials. When creating cost justifications don’t forget to include both, although the tangibles will already be an eye opener. Make sure you are prepared for the additional machine capacity and consider expanding into industries that you were unable to compete prior.
By Frank Arteaga, Head of Product Marketing, NAFTA Region
Bystronic Inc., Elgin, IL – Voice.firstname.lastname@example.org