Advantages of High-Power Fiber Laser Cutting Machines Compared to Plasma

Technological Advancements in Laser Cutting Machines

Before 2015, laser cutting had long-term limitations in thickness applications. Traditionally, flame cutting was believed to cut the widest range of plate thicknesses, especially for thick and extra-thick plates above 50mm, with obvious speed advantages and suitability for low-precision processing. Plasma cutting had significant speed advantages in the 30-50mm range but was not suitable for processing thinner plates (<2mm). Laser cutting mostly used kilowatt-class lasers, showing speed and precision advantages below 10mm.

However, with the upgrade of fiber laser cutting machine technology, current laser power has exceeded 100KW, and the ultimate cutting thickness has surpassed 500mm (carbon steel), starting to develop towards thick and extra-thick plates.
Increased Cutting Thickness and Efficiency
As the power of fiber laser cutting machines increases, the cutting thickness and efficiency of the equipment also increase, gradually becoming an alternative to plasma cutting. The 20KW laser cutting machine has broken through the optimal cutting thickness of carbon steel and stainless steel to 70mm, respectively. Considering that steel plates are generally divided into thin plates (<4mm), medium plates (4-20mm), thick plates (20-60mm), and extra-thick plates (>60mm) according to thickness, now high-power fiber laser cutting machines can complete the cutting of medium-thin plates and most thick plates. The application scenarios of laser cutting equipment continue to extend to the field of medium-thick plates, reaching the thickness range of plasma cutting.
Improved Cutting Quality and Efficiency
In addition to increasing the upper limit of the cutting material thickness, laser cutting has narrower slits and higher flatness compared to plasma cutting, improving cutting quality. On the other hand, high-power lasers have also continuously improved cutting efficiency. For example, when cutting 50mm carbon steel, the efficiency of a 30KW laser cutting machine can be increased by 88% compared to a 20KW cutting machine. High-power laser equipment has begun to replace plasma and will accelerate the replacement of the plasma cutting market.

Data Comparison: Cutting Speed and Cost

Thin Plate Cutting (1-4mm)
For thin plates (1-4mm), the cutting speed of fiber laser cutting machines is several times that of plasma, making its advantages indisputable.

Carbon steel Thickness Plasma cutting speed Fiber laser cutting machine cutting speed
Hypertherm 400A (M/min) 12KW(M/min) 20KW(M/min) 30KW(M/min)
1mm 5.3 60 60 60
3mm 6.1 32 35 35

Additionally, because fiber laser cutting machines generate less heat when cutting thin plates, the board will not undergo thermal deformation or overcutting. Therefore, the cutting accuracy is much higher than that of plasma.

Medium Plate Cutting (4-20mm)
In the cutting of medium plates (4-20mm), the cutting speed of high-power fiber laser cutting machines is also very obvious. Basically, fiber cutting machines are 2-4 times more efficient than plasma.
Carbon steel Thickness Plasma cutting speed Fiber laser cutting machine cutting speed
Hypertherm 400A (M/min) 12KW(M/min) 20KW(M/min) 30KW(M/min)
6mm 4 16 20 20
10mm 4.4 5.5 10 15
12mm 4.4 4 7 10
20mm 2.17 1.3 2.7 4

Furthermore, high-power fiber cutting machines can use compressed air or (O2 + compressed air) to directly cut medium plates with a thickness of 1-20mm. Therefore, the operating cost is only electricity. Compared to plasma cutting per unit length, fiber laser cutting machines have lower cutting costs, giving customers a cost advantage in the same market.
Thick and Extra-Thick Plate Cutting (20-60mm and above)
When it comes to cutting thick plates (20-60mm) and extra-thick plates (>60mm), plasma and fiber cutting speeds are basically the same (compared to 20KW/30KW).
Carbon steel Thickness Plasma cutting speed Fiber laser cutting machine cutting speed
Hypertherm 400A (M/min) 12KW(M/min) 20KW(M/min) 30KW(M/min)
25mm 2.2 1 1.2 1.4
30mm 1.1 0.8 1.1 1.3
50mm 0.8 / 0.5 0.5
70mm 0.2 / 0.2 0.2

However, the cutting gap of the fiber laser cutting machine is smaller, the precision is higher, and the surface is smoother. This is the cutting effect of a fiber laser cutting machine cutting 50mm carbon steel, for your reference.

DXTECH SG fiber laser cutting machine cuts 50mm carbon steel sheet

High-power fiber laser cutting machines show significant advantages over plasma cutting machines in many aspects. With continuous technological advancements, their application in the cutting field will become increasingly widespread.

If you are interested in the high power laser cutting machine, don't hesitate to contact me. 

Get Price & Details

Premium Related Products