Cutting Gas vs. Air Compressor for Fiber Laser Cutting

Understanding your tools is the first step toward optimization and efficiency. In the case of OMTech's Fiber Laser Cutting Machines, the part that different gases play is an important factor in achieving precise and quality cuts.

Cutting Gasses in Fiber Cutting Machines

When it comes to cutting metals, different gases serve different purposes depending on the specific requirements of the metal being cut. The choice between Nitrogen and Oxygen lies at the heart of this decision-making process.

Oxygen Gas Tank

Oxygen gas is primarily used for cutting Carbon Steel due to its high reactivity with this material. The required purity for the oxygen gas tank is 99.5%. For normal use, the output pressure lies between 6-8 Bar (87-116 PSI), and when pushed to its limit, the oxygen gas tank can go up to 10 Bar (145 PSI).

It's critical to note that the tank is estimated to be empty after 2-3 hours of continuous usage. This time factor links back to planning and resource management in operations, highlighting the importance of considering gas usage while scheduling your manufacturing runs.

Nitrogen Gas Tank

With Nitrogen, we move over to materials like Stainless Steel, Aluminum, and Brass. The higher reactivity between Nitrogen and these materials requires a purity of 99.9%. The usage output pressure of Nitrogen is significantly higher compared to Oxygen, at 18-22 Bar (261 - 319 PSI) under normal conditions, and goes up to 25 Bar (362 PSI) at max. This high force comes at the cost of depleting faster, with the tank running empty in 15 minutes of continuous usage.

Understanding the Gas Tank

Let's get familiar with the components of the Gas Tank that make it function. The key components are the Regulator and the Input/Output Pressure Gauge. They work together to control the pressure of the gas being utilized, thus providing optimal conditions for the laser-cutting process.

Climbing Over the Power Threshold: 6KW Fiber Laser Source

Above a 6KW Fiber Laser Source in your machine, your power requirements see an increased pull. Interestingly, this increase in power reduces the pressure needed for the Cutting Gas. The direct benefit? Leaner cutting gas utilization, which effectively lowers the cost of your operations.

Revealing the Alternate Route: Air Compressors

An Air Compressor is an alternative to Cutting Gas, albeit different in operation and requirements. It provides Nitrogen at a 70% purity level, against the high 99.9% in a Nitrogen Gas Tank.

To function, an Air Compressor needs clean and dry air. This information means that components for Cooling and Drying are necessary. Companies like OMTech design their Air Compressors to complement their Laser Fiber Cutting Machines, giving you a seamless integrated solution.

Balancing Power and Material Thickness

Deciding between an air compressor and a cutting gas is a complex binary choice. It's a systemic decision necessitating you to balance the power source (in KW) and material thickness (in mm). If your power source is less than 3KW and material thickness is more than 3mm, the results with an air compressor – given its 70% Nitrogen purity – may not achieve the required standard.

Cost or Quality: The Air Compressor Trade-off

While an Air Compressor may seem like a more cost-effective option initially, it's necessary also to consider the possible costs of quality compromise. Using an Air Compressor for materials too thick for the Fiber Laser Source's capability can result in inferior cut quality. In the manufacturing world, quality carries weight.

By providing you with this information on Fiber Laser Cutting Machines, our goal at OMTech is to empower you with the knowledge to make informed decisions. Understanding the role of different gases, the components of the gas tank, and the implications of power levels helps you optimize your use of these machines.

For more information on fiber cutting, visit our fiber laser cutting website. Schedule a sales consultation with one of our experts, they can answer any question you can think of. There's plenty of options when it comes to financing our machines, so be sure to explore whichever one is best for you and your business. Every one of our machines is backed by a two-year warranty, so you can feel protected from any issues of defects.  At OMTech, we're not just selling lasers but enabling you with tools to achieve your manufacturing goals efficiently and effectively.