Fiber laser cutting machines are essential tools in many industries that can provide a significant stream of revenue. This means it is imperative to carefully weigh the different options available to make the most informed decision possible for the advancement of your business. Industries like shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing, aerospace, elevators, and kitchenware all rely upon industrial laser cutters to fabricate metals for products and parts. The various metals that fiber laser cutting machines can work with include carbon steel, aluminum, brass, copper, and more.
What Are the Best Fiber Laser Cutter Machines?
If you're considering purchasing the best fiber laser cutter for your business, there are several important factors you need to take into account, as it's a major purchase that will also represent a source of income for your company. Working area, laser power supply, laser speed, and warranty and service are all things that you need to consider when searching for the best fiber laser cutting machine for your business. With these features in mind, there are three industrial fiber laser cutting machines for 2023 that are considered the leaders in the industry: Boss Laser FC-6012, Laguna Tools SmartShop Laser FC, and OMTech FC-Series.
The working area, or bed size, for an industrial laser cutter, refers to the table used for the actual cutting of the materials. Its measurements comprise both the x-axis (width) travel path and the y-axis (length) travel path that the laser must make in order to make the proper cuts for each project. In an industrial manufacturing setting, it is critical that this table area be large enough to fit the metals you need to fabricate but not too large for your business's needs or workspace. An open-faced table model is optimal, as it makes the most use of the cutting surface.
To figure out what bed size you will need for your business, you need to establish what is the largest size workpiece you will be working with. When you have this information, you can do the math and make a better-informed decision on what size machine bed works best for you. Since you're not able to change the bed size on a fiber laser cutter after purchase, doing this simple calculation can save you big headaches in the long run.
For our comparison purposes, all three models of metal cutting laser machines possess the desired open-table design, with the same measurements for the base model working area. In an industrial setting, you would want the working surface to be at least 120" × 60" to fully maximize the physical space taken up by the fiber laser cutter on your workroom floor.
- Boss Laser FC-6012 — 120" × 60"
- Fiber Laguna Tools SmartShop Laser FC — 120" × 60"
- OMTech FC-105 — 120" × 60"
LASER POWER SUPPLY (WATTAGE/CUTTING POWER)
Because the wattage of any laser cutting equipment's laser power supply correlates directly with the power of the laser itself, it is imperative to choose a fiber laser cutter for metal that packs enough energy for your business's fiber laser cutting needs. Also, a higher wattage behind a laser equates to the laser's ability to cut through thicker pieces of metal. For example, to cut through carbon steel sheets at a 16 mm thickness, you need a minimum of 1.5 kilowatts (kW) of fiber power.
However, it is not economically sound to purchase an industrial laser cutting machine that provides more power than you realistically need. Typically, the more power a fiber laser cutter generates, the greater the cost of the machine itself. In order to make a fiscally responsible choice for your business (and your bottom line), you must ensure that the power you are purchasing is not more than the power you actually need or will use. Always remember that thicker and harder materials require more power.
In this comparison, the Boss Laser FC-6012 falls a bit short, maxing out at 1 kW IPG fiber power with a maximum cutting thickness of 9 mm for carbon steel sheets. Both the Laguna Tools SmartShop Laser FC and OMTech's FC-105 offer a base of 1 kW power, with the Laguna model offering the greatest amount of power, topping out at 12 kW.
- Boss Laser FC-6012 — 700 W to 1 kW IPG fiber
- Laguna Tools SmartShop Laser FC — 1 kW to 12 kW IPG fiber
- OMTech FC-105 — 1 kW to 4 kW Raycus fiber laser power source
The laser power supply and the laser speed of any industrial fiber laser cutting machine are directly related to one another and must be well-matched to work efficiently for your business. Laser speed is crucial for the output and therefore income of your business. After all, the faster a laser can cut out a project, the faster you can sell that product for a profit. However, when it comes to fiber laser cutters, speed does not always equal quality. If a laser speed is faster than the power can keep up with, it cannot properly cut through the material. Alternatively, if it generates enough or more than enough power but moves too slowly, you are not only wasting valuable work time but also risk irreversibly damaging the materials you are working with. Thankfully, all three models we're comparing have an appropriate power-to-speed ratio.
It's also important to remember that the speed at which any fiber laser can cut metal is completely contingent upon the specific materials being cut as well as the metal's thickness. For instance, a hard metal like carbon steel, with its high percentage of carbon, would provide more resistance for a laser beam than a nonmetal material like wood. Therefore, it would take a laser longer to penetrate the carbon steel, making the laser speed slightly slower.
OMTech's FC-105 laser speed is the fastest at 80 meters per minute. At 30.48 meters per minute, the Laguna Tools SmartShop Laser FC comes in next. Boss Laser does not provide a maximum laser speed for their FC-6012.
- Boss Laser FC-6012 — unknown
- Laguna Tools SmartShop Laser FC — 30.48 meters per minute
- OMTech FC-105 — 80 meters per minute
WARRANTY AND SERVICE
It's important for fiber laser metal cutting machine companies to offer their customers support for their purchases. After all, an industrial laser cutter is a major investment for any business, and having the proper support and warranty coverage should be an essential part of any decision-making process for such a significant asset. Not only do these machines take a big chunk out of your operating budget, but they also represent income potential for any company that acquires them.
Proper training for industrial laser cutting equipment is critical. You want the people you trust to operate these machines to be trained on the day-to-day use of the equipment so they can produce for your company. You also want your employees to know the safety precautions they need to take while operating or simply being around the laser cutters to avoid unnecessary injuries. For these reasons, on-site training is best. When you have an experienced trainer in front of the machine with you, it's easier for them to explain all you need to know and for you to understand and ask any questions you may have as they arise.
OMTech comes out on top with a two-year warranty plus three-day onsite training and lifetime product support when you purchase its fiber laser cutting machines. Boss Laser also offers a two-year warranty but limits its onsite training to two days, and there is no mention of life-time product support on its website. Laguna Tools offers its customers a two-year warranty, but its online training is available online via Zoom and only upon request. Its website also doesn't mention anything about lifetime product support.
- Boss Laser FC-6012 — 2-year warranty, 2-day onsite install/training
- Laguna Tools SmartShop Laser FC — 2-year warranty, online training via Zoom available upon request
- OMTech FC-105 — 2-year warranty, 3-day onsite install/training, lifetime support
After you've considered all of the above factors in your decision, the final aspect you need to examine is that of cost. After all, you want the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to your business's equipment. Naturally, you want an affordable fiber laser cutter, but you also want all the capabilities that the best laser cutting metal machine can offer. Prices do vary from company to company, but in order to make an informed decision, you must figure out the features that mean the most to you and your business and weigh them against the purchase price.
It's a delicate balance to strike, but after all, things are considered, there's one industrial fiber laser cutting machine that outweighs the rest when it comes to overall specs and value. The OMTech FC-105 fiber laser cutter is clearly an industry leader in terms of product offerings versus the cost of investment. Contact OMTech today to see how our industrial fiber laser cutters can help your business thrive.