HOW MUCH GAS & WHAT TYPES OF GAS DOES A FIBER LASER USE?

Their compact, solid-state design and low cost of operation make fiber laser tables the preferred cutting machines for sheet metal fabrication. Fiber lasers provide much faster cutting speeds than CO2 lasers and can cut copper, brass, and aluminum better and more safely because the fiber laser beam is more readily absorbed and not reflected. In fact, a fiber laser machine’s operating costs are typically half of a CO2 system’s due to the fiber laser’s lower electrical consumption and high electrical efficiency.

During the fiber laser cutting process, an assist gas blows through a nozzle on the laser cutting head. How much gas is needed can vary, but it’s generally a small amount. During the cutting process, the gas reacts chemically with the metal being cut to increase working capacity, blow off slag, and protect the laser focusing lens. As effective as fiber lasers are at achieving precise, high-quality edges, the right assist gas can improve edge quality and increase cutting speeds significantly for certain materials. There are several options for assist gas, but it’s important to understand which to use for different applications.

REACTIVE VS. NONREACTIVE GAS

Assist gases can be reactive or nonreactive. If the gas is reactive, it can change the properties of the metal being cut. Reactive gases are recommended when edge quality is not important. Nonreactive assist gases are better when cut quality is critical. There are essentially four primary types of assist gas for fiber laser machines: compressed air, nitrogen, oxygen, and argon.

COMPRESSED AIR

Compressed air is the simplest assist gas option. Most shop compressors run between 75 to 175 psi, so depending on the application, you may need a pressure booster. You may also need a filter because compressed air should be cleaned to remove any oil or moisture before entering the laser head to avoid contaminating the optics. Because of its high oxygen content, compressed air is considered a reactive cutting gas for metal fabrication. However, it is less reactive than oxygen assist gas.

OXYGEN

Oxygen was one of the first assist gases used due to its high reactivity. The extra heat generated when using oxygen assist gas allows lower-powered lasers to cut through thicker materials. Oxygen cutting tends to run at a lower flow rate and pressure than nitrogen cutting. This can lead to slightly slower cutting speeds with certain metals but can result in reduced gas consumption and lower operating costs.

NITROGEN

Generally, nitrogen is considered the best assist gas for producing high cut quality. A nonreactive gas with most materials, nitrogen is best used with aluminum, mild steels, galvanized steels, and UHSS automotive steels. Because nitrogen cutting is a colder process, it can produce high-quality edges for a wide range of materials.

ARGON

Argon is the rarest and most expensive assist gas and can be used to precisely cut any material that nitrogen can cut. One of the main reasons for using argon is to cut metals that are chemically reactive with nitrogen.

FIBER LASER MACHINES FOR A VARIETY OF INDUSTRIES

Whether you need a fiber laser cutter for high-volume manufacturing or fine machining, Alpha Lazer™ can provide you with a solution that is customized to your application and budget. Our high-caliber laser tables feature state-of-the-art technology, such as a precision Precitec® cutting head and Siemens® automated CNC software. What’s more, every fiber laser machine we offer comes with lifetime support.

Contact Alpha Lazer today for more information. One of our knowledgeable team members can help you determine which of our tables would be the most cost-effective solution for your shop.

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ACCU-CUT LASER

SURREY, BC, CANADA

Kerns Punia, owner of AccuCut Laser located in Surrey, Canada, explains why he chose Alpha Lazer™ and the Fiber PRO 3015 6kW fiber laser cutting system.

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BALDWIN METALS

DALLAS, TX, USA

"Alpha Lazer exceeded our expectations with their high-quality Fiber Laser machine and exceptional customer support. I highly recommend them for any manufacturing needs." Tom Johnson, owner of Baldwin Metals in Dallas, Texas

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