The most important criterion when selecting the laser power of your laser machine is the application that you want to use most often with the laser. If the laser is primarily used for engraving, you will achieve good results with laser powers between 25 and 80 watts. For laser cutting or for very high speed applications, we recommend a laser power of more than 80 watts.
In this article we will try to explain the topic of “Optimal laser power” as well as possible. As a general rule, we recommend a personal consultation to determine the optimum laser power for you.
The maximum laser power of your laser machine affects both the quality of your products and the working time. The difference between two power levels is best demonstrated using examples. In this case we have laser engraved anodised aluminium and cut our logo from acrylic.
Data plate, layout 700 x 420 mm 49 units per 100 x 60 mm
|Laser power||30 watts||80 watts|
|Progress||48% finished||65% finished|
|Time per unit||55 seconds||29 seconds|
10 mm, plate size 1000 x 500 mm, 352 units with a height of 50 mm each&
|Laser power:||80 watts||120 watts|
|Progress:||100% finished||100% finished|
|Time per unit:||55 seconds||29 seconds|
Different materials require different laser powers to achieve the optimum result. For example, laser engraving paper typically requires less power than laser engraving wood. With acrylic, a uniformly homogeneous material, finer laser engraving can be created using a low power. For engraving laminates such as TroLase, higher laser power enables a faster working time.
Using your laser software you can easily regulate the laser power. However, the maximum laser power is dependant on your hardware. A laser machine which has a higher laser power offers greater processing flexibility for many different materials.
The following table shows an overview of the required minimum powers for different materials:
These values are guidelines. A higher laser power usually leads to faster throughput times and higher efficiency.
|Material||Recommend laser power (watts)|
|Engraving||Laser engraving and laser cutting|
|Laminate/engraving materials (1.6. mm)||40||40|
|Stamp (2.3 mm)||30||30|
When processing thicker materials, a higher laser power is crucial for achieving a good quality result. As a rule of thumb for acrylic for example, we recommend 10 watts per milimeter.
A comparison of the laser cutting time for different sheet thicknesses of acrylic between 200 and 400 watts is shown in the graphic.
In addition to acrylic, other plastics can be processed by laser, such as polycarbonate or SAN. These require high powers of 200 or 400 watts in order to be able to cut them cleanly even with a comparatively low thickness of 2 and 3 mm.
Whilst the range of applications for fiber lasers is not as vast as CO2 lasers, the main application is still crucial when selecting your laser power. Laser engraving metal requiress a high laser power. As an example, using the annealing and laser marking methods, good results can be achieved with 20 or 30 watts.
We would be happy to advise you on the optimal choice of laser machine for your application.
Take advantage of our many years of experience in a consultation, application testing and laser demonstration.