Why buying a high-quality laser pays off

Published on: 05/06/2020 Author: Alexander Jauker

I often receive advertising and questions regarding "Chinese lasers" popping up on my social networks feeds. These are often from users who are looking for advice on what to buy, or wondering what to do with their "Chinese laser" as it relates to installation, applications or servicing. While most of these "Chinese Lasers" are cheap to purchase, the fact is that lasers manufactured in China have actually improved a little in quality over the past few years. Nonetheless, while the initial investment in a "Chinese laser" is relatively low, the big question is.... What does the user really get for their money? From my point of view, what are the decisive differences between relatively inexpensive lasers known as "entry level models" and comparitively expensive Trotec laser machines?

As these are very common questions being regularly asked of me, I would like to shed some light on the arguments in favour of a high quality laser machine as a part of a production process. What are the most important things to consider in a laser device for cutting and engraving? A brief summary of the most important points:

  1. The productivity and thus quality of laser engraving and laser cutting
  2. Running costs: reliability, maintenance and durability
  3. Ease of use and safety

1. Productivity

Trotec laser machines are production devices. They are built with the intention of supporting users in profitable production. From my perspective, the high-quality components and their intelligent combination make all the difference.

A brief example: Laser sources with a ceramic or metal resonator combined with servomotors and steel-reinforced belts enable faster laser engraving of even the smallest fonts across the entire work area. With a glass laser source – usually installed in very inexpensive lasers – it is just not possible to achieve a consistent engraving result over the entire bed area of the laser. The diameter of the laser beam increases with the length of the beam path. From a purely technical point of view, engraving consistency is just not possible.

My personal highlight: Speed equals productivity. Some Trotec lasers are capable of achieving an engraving speed of 4.3 m/s and an acceleration of 5g. Very inexpensive lasers differ significantly here and often only achieve an engraving speed of 0.5 m/s and accelerations of around 0.5 g. Thanks to the Trotec motion system and drive concept, the Trotec lasers bring engraving and cutting speed to the material. They engrave quickly and with excellent quality.

2. Running costs: Reliability, maintenance and durability

There are many very inexpensive lasers on the market – and the offer seems attractive at first glance because the initial investment is very low. But it can be a bit short sighted if you only consider the initial costs for your production equipment. The amount of effort required to maintain a Trotec laser and its associated running costs are very low. On the one hand, this is as a result of the lasers mechanical/technical quality – the Trotec InPack technologyTM creates a closed system in which the axes are shielded and therefore protected from dust – and on the other hand, it is a result of our service/maintenance packages. With our TroCare protection package, you can “protect” your laser for up to 10 years and minimise the costs of replacing certain components.

One of the biggest expense factors, is the laser source replacement. The service life of a glass laser source is exhausted after approx. 1,000 hours, RF laser sources deliver consistent results for approx. 5 years.

3. Ease of use and safety

Our laser engraving machines are specially developed for the needs of our customers. When developing a laser machine, our Trotec developers are focused on creating an intuitive workflow and designing integrated software features that make calculations and processes easier for the customer, such as the JobTimeCalculator or focusing at the touch of a button.

Trotec laser machines are CE-compliant and meet the requirements of the EC Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. Trotec laser plotters correspond to laser class 2, so the safety of your users is guaranteed at all times. Trotec’s production is certified according to the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards.

More about the author: Alexander Jauker

Alexander Jauker is an enthusiastic fan of lasers. He’s been part of the Trotec team for over ten years. His role is Head of Strategic Marketing and Product Management.