Every Trotec laser is built to last, with high quality parts and workmanship. On average, the lifespan of a laser is around 10 years, but this depends on how well it is cared for and the conditions under which it operates. To ensure the longest possible lifespan for your laser, please take advantage of our free training on best practice for operating your laser, as well as regular laser maintenance available through your local Trotec Technical Support team. Here are a number of tips on how you can ensure the longest possible life for your laser machine.
Choosing the best location for your laser
Lasers will operate and last longer when located in an optimum environment. Ideally, your laser would like to live and work in a temperature between 20-25 degrees Celsius with normal humidity (40-70% relative humidity). Heat, cold, extreme temperature differences whilst working, as well as direct sunlight , will all negatively affect the laser and can reduce the lifespan. The higher the laser power, the higher the excess heat created by the laser. Ensure that plenty of air can circulate around the room to counteract the additional heat created. In the colder months, don't operate the laser in a room below 15 degrees celsius. It can also help to allow the laser source to warm up in standby mode until it has reached a safe operating temperature.
For more information about the ideal operating conditions for your laser:
Regular laser cleaning
Your laser will perform at it's best if it is well maintained and cleaned regularly. Dust and debris build up can cause flames, flare ups, fires, and leave residue that could block air intakes and exhausts. The following parts of your laser should be checked and cleaned regularly:
- Optical components: Lenses and mirrors
- Nose cone
- Working tables and work area
Details on how to clean your laser can be found in the operating manual or in this article
Only use materials that are suitable for laser processing
Not all materials are suitable for laser processing. We suggest you always check your materials are safe before laser processing. Better yet, contact our consumables team to discuss our range of specially designed materials guaranteed to be safe and perform at their best when laser processing. Certain materials can damage parts of the laser, or produce gases or particulates that can be harmful to the operator. You can find a list of known unsuitable materials below:
Using an exhaust system
Trotec laser machines feature InPack technology to protect motors and electronic components from dust and smoke. Not all lasers have this protection and so require more intensive cleaning, more often. Depending on the material being processed, smoke and dust may be produced. All smoke and debris must be extracted from the working area of the laser to avoid damage to the laser. We recommend using an atmos exhaust system, as they are automatically controlled and will signal a warning on the display it's time to replace the filter. Find out more about our exhaust systems.
In addition, Trotec offers nose cones to aid in the circulation of the Air Assist, which comes from the internal compressor or external air compressor. The nose cones flush air through the optics to protect the lenses and mirrors from contamination. Chat to us about the right extraction system for your laser.
Certain materials are known to be more likely to cause flames during laser cutting, acrylic is a well known material for this. We have a few suggestions on how adjusting the suction, the Air Assist and the laser parameters can help reduce flames during processing. Using specially designed working tables (acrylic cutting grid or acrylic slats) can also reduce the liklihood of flame formation. Be sure to replace any acrylic cutting tables when they become worn out.
Always clean the working table so that the area of free of dust and debris that could also be a potential source of flames.
Trotec offers a variety of service packages to help keep your laser running smoothly. Our qualified service technicians will check your system, help with settings, and give you advice on operating your laser. If needed, we can also repair the system and replace worn parts, such as optics.
Laser optics, such as lenses or mirrors, are subject to normal wear and tear. How much wear and tear is placed on these parts is dependant on your application and the types of materials you work with. The hours of laser processing performed by the parts also affects their condition. This means that how many laser hours you do each day, the types of processing you use and the material processed directly affects the wear of the optical components. In addition, for processes that create a lot of dust and debris, such as rubber stamp making, AirAssist will also play a critical role in prolonging the life of your optics. Dirty and improperly cleaned lenses become increasingly opaque and reduce the amount of laser power through the optics. This causes the lens to heat up more than normal and will crack or damage the lens. Regularly inspecting and cleaning the optical components will prolong the life of your lens and reduce the chance that it will crack prematurely.
The laser source, or laser tube, is the heart of your laser and is responsible for generating the laser beam. Trotec normally uses CO2 laser sources with a ceramic interior (Ceramicore®), which are known to have a particularly long lifespan for the gas. The lifespan of the laser source depends on the climatic operating conditions and the operating mode. e.g. quick laser jobs at high power will strain the tube more than longer jobs at medium power outputs.
Further information about how to get the best from your laser source can be found here:
Both the laser source and the laser machine work best under optimal operating conditions. Ambiant temperatures that are too high or too low can significantly reduce the lifespan of your machine. (see above)