Excerpted from an article appearing in SME's Manufacturing Engineering Magazine by Rouzbeh Sarrafi, PhD, IPG Photonics Senior Applications Engineer. Download the full article below.
With the introduction of kilowatt-level fiber lasers in the early 2000s and their subsequent integration into cutting tools in the late 2000s, fiber lasers have transformed laser cutting from a niche method to a mainstream fabrication process. Since then, fiber lasers have dominated the laser cutting of sheet metals because of their ease of integration, reliability, low maintenance, and low capital and operating costs versus prior laser technology, high cutting speeds, and the possibility of scaling up their power. The laser cutting market has grown more than 10 percent annually in the past decade, more than double the rate of other profile cutting processes.