How to Choose a Suitable Fiber Laser Over 10kW?

According to the report on the development of China’s laser industry, in the domestic fiber laser market, the overall shipment of domestic conventional low and medium power fiber lasers has surpassed that of foreign products in the same power section due to the gradual improvement of power and performance of domestic fiber lasers. This achievement demonstrates the success of import substitution.

Additionally, the overall shipment of domestic conventional ultra-high power fiber lasers above 10 kW is almost on par with that of foreign products in the same power section.

This indicates that domestic fiber lasers are gaining acceptance in the domestic market due to the continuous enhancement of independent research and development strength.

Furthermore, the industrial market’s demand for high-power 10000 watt lasers is increasing every year as the processing of laser products requires higher standards. This trend has become increasingly prevalent.

Customers face a wide range of 10000 watt lasers in the domestic market and have many doubts about choosing suitable equipment.

Shipment of fiber lasers in China from 2018 to 2021 (unit Set)

1. FAQs about the selection of fiber lasers

Q1: is the higher the power, the higher the processing efficiency?

In recent years, high power has become increasingly popular in the laser processing industry. Take Raycus laser as an example. Last year, the sales of laser products above 10,000 watts exceeded 2,380 units, a 243% increase from 2020 and a total of 3,200 units sold throughout history. This number is far greater than that of other domestic brands. Raycus laser’s continuous fiber laser products have reached 100 kW, setting a domestic precedent.

However, higher power does not necessarily equate to higher processing efficiency of laser products.

The efficiency depends on the configuration of the laser’s core components, such as the active fiber, pump source, and high-power combiner, as well as the type and thickness of the plate being processed.

The core device configuration of the laser plays a significant role in determining its processing efficiency. More advanced core devices and their matching can achieve higher processing efficiency than other brands of lasers with the same power.

Additionally, the type and thickness of plates being processed by customers should also be considered when measuring the processing efficiency. Furthermore, different applications, such as welding and cladding, have additional factors that affect processing efficiency. Therefore, it is not appropriate to compare the processing efficiency of different lasers solely based on their power.

Lastly, let’s examine the process effects of Raycus laser cutting carbon steel with different thicknesses at 12 kW, 20 kW, and 30 kW.

comparison of the process effects of Raycus laser cutting carbon steel with different thickness at 12 kW, 20 kW and 30 kW
Mild Steel Thickness10mm16mm20mm25mm40mm
12000W6.5m/min1.6m/min
(O2)
1.4m/min
(O2)
0.9m/min
(O2)
/
20000W12m/min6m/min3m/min1.4m/min
(O2)
0.9m/min
(O2)
30000W15m/min8.5m/min5.5m/min3m/min1.1m/min
(O2)
Efficiency Improvement25%41.70%83.30%114.30%22.20%

The table shows three multi-mode groups with power outputs of 30 kW, 20 kW, and 12 kW, all used for cutting carbon steel during process measurement. The auxiliary gas used for all three is air, although this is not marked in the table.

On examining the table, it is apparent that the efficiency of the 30 kW multi-mode group for cutting 10 mm thick carbon steel using auxiliary air is 25% higher than that of the 20 kW group.

While there is an improvement in efficiency, it is not very significant. However, the advantage becomes more apparent when cutting 25 mm thick carbon steel, with the 30 kW multi-mode group showing an efficiency that is 114.3% higher than the 20 kW group (which uses auxiliary oxygen).

Product application cases

In terms of practical application, customers should select high-power products that are most suitable for their own processed plates based on their type and thickness.

If the majority of the customer’s processing involves thin plates, they should select products at the 10000 watt level to meet their processing efficiency needs to the fullest extent.

On the other hand, if medium and thick plates comprise the majority of the processing or if the processing volume is large, customers should choose higher-power 10000 watt laser products.

Many customers opt for equipment equipped with Raycus laser 30 kW laser due to the large processing volume. This equipment can satisfy the comprehensive requirements of cutting speed and section quality of thin, medium, and thick plates.

It has significant advantages in air cutting medium and thick plates, which substantially improves the factory’s processing efficiency. This, in turn, reduces the overall operating costs and leads to quicker returns.

Q2: under the same power, the smaller the fiber core, the better?

As we all know, current laser technology breakthrough is focused on high power and high brightness.

Some laser manufacturers have wrongly guided customers to believe that “a small core represents high brightness. However, this is a misconception.

The quality of a high brightness laser is closely related to the BPP (beam parameter product) value, which is calculated using the waist radius of the beam (ω₀) and the far-field divergence angle of the laser beam (θʀ). A lower BPP value indicates better beam quality.

Brightness is defined as the power per unit area and per unit solid angle. Thus, to achieve high brightness, two preconditions must be met: improving the laser power and improving the beam quality.

Both single and joint improvements can lead to an increase in laser brightness. However, improving the beam quality is not the same as reducing the core diameter of the fiber.

This is because the core diameter cannot be equal to the beam waist diameter. When reducing the core diameter, the far-field divergence angle of the beam must not increase to reduce the BPP value and achieve better beam quality.

fiber core

BPP=ω₀*θʀ,ω ₀is girdle radius, θʀ is beam divergence angle

In the application scenario of ultra-high power fiber lasers, customers require improvements in benefits, which can be achieved from two aspects:

Firstly, by enhancing the electro-optical conversion efficiency of fiber lasers, electricity and money can be saved.

Secondly, by improving the comprehensive processing efficiency, the goal of increasing efficiency and profitability can be attained.

Laser processing is a systematic project that necessitates the multidimensional coordination and complementarity of machine tools, systems, gas paths, processing heads, laser sources, plates, and processing technology. Only then can the system’s utilization rate be genuinely increased, and the optimal income generated.

Raycus laser Wanwa series fiber lasers have an electro-optical conversion efficiency of over 40%, and the divergence angle is optimized to a large extent, making it compatible with cutting heads and systems with different optical configurations of all brands available in the market. This allows for better consideration of customer cutting needs for thin, medium, and thick plates.

Q3: how to choose single-mode group and multi-mode group under the same power?

The composition of fiber laser modules is divided into two groups: single-mode and multi-mode. In cutting applications, the quality of the cutting is greatly affected by the focusing spot.

The single-mode 10000-watt laser utilizes a single fiber amplification to achieve the 10000-watt level. The beam has a near Gaussian distribution, and the energy is relatively concentrated.

Typically, the mode conversion method is used to achieve the beam homogenization effect, which is greatly influenced by the consistency of the devices.

Multi-mode 10000-watt lasers generally combine multiple 2000~6000-watt optical modules to produce the beams, which superpose to naturally form the homogenization effect and good consistency.

Comparison of beam patterns of single-mode and multi-mode 10000 watt fiber lasers

Comparison of Beam Patterns of Single-Mode and Multi-Mode 10000 Watt Fiber Lasers

The upper two images depict single-mode fiber lasers, while the lower two show multi-mode fiber lasers.

The advantage of using a single-mode 10000 watt laser is its cutting speed for medium and thin plates. When compared to Raycus’ single-mode 12000 and multi-mode 12000 lasers, the cutting efficiency of the single-mode 12000 laser is better than that of the multi-mode 12000 fiber laser when cutting stainless steel with thicknesses below 20 mm, and when assisted by nitrogen or air.

Mild Steel Thickness4mm8mm10mm20mm
Multi-module12000W23m/min8m/min6.5m/min1.2m/min
Single module 12000W32m/min10.5m/min8.5m/min1.4m/min
Efficiency Improvement39.13%31.25%30.77%16.67%

Single mode group 12000 W and multimode group 12000 w

Comparison of measured data effect of cutting stainless steel process

Multi mode 10000 watt laser has better beam homogenization effect, which makes the advantage of thick plate cutting quality more obvious.

Some customers have extremely demanding processing requirements, and therefore, they opt for multimode fiber lasers.

In essence, the single-mode and multimode groups cannot be compared in a straightforward manner. Both are configurations of fiber lasers, similar to cars.

Cars are designed for roads, while off-road vehicles are built for mountains. However, cars can navigate mountains, and off-road vehicles can operate on roads as well.

Hence, the selection of a multi-mode or single-mode fiber laser is contingent upon the specific processing needs of the customer.

12000 W single module cutting 6 mm carbon steel effect

12000 W multimode group cutting 30 mm carbon steel effect

2. How to choose the right laser products over 10kW?

Choosing the right products depends on the market’s application needs.

For most user enterprises, selecting a laser with high cost performance based on specific application scenarios is crucial.

Customers can comprehensively evaluate products based on three aspects: processing demand, cost demand, and service demand.

Firstly, different users have different requirements for cutting thickness, speed, and processing efficiency of plates. Therefore, when selecting laser products, it’s essential to consider the actual processing demand of the daily factory cutting plate and thickness.

Secondly, the cost of the product is also a crucial factor in selecting the laser under the condition of maximizing the current processing demand. The use cost of the laser can be comprehensively compared based on electro-optical conversion efficiency, shutdown cost, purchase price, and other factors.

Finally, lasers are high-unit-price bulk commodities with long service life, regardless of product performance parameters like beam quality, electro-optic conversion efficiency, stability, and plate cutting demand. Users should also focus on product quality assurance and after-sales services, making it a better choice to opt for a reputable brand of lasers.

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Shane
Author

Shane

Founder of MachineMFG

As the founder of MachineMFG, I have dedicated over a decade of my career to the metalworking industry. My extensive experience has allowed me to become an expert in the fields of sheet metal fabrication, machining, mechanical engineering, and machine tools for metals. I am constantly thinking, reading, and writing about these subjects, constantly striving to stay at the forefront of my field. Let my knowledge and expertise be an asset to your business.

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