In 2014, laser cut sheet metal applications became mainstream. The 500W power laser quickly became the market darling. It then quickly evolved into kilowatt power to 1500W.
Before 2016, the world’s major laser machine manufacturers believed that laser power to cut metal 6KW had been able to solve the vast majority of cutting needs. But in the second half of the year, GrandTech Laser took the lead in launching 8KW laser cutting machines, kicking off the race to increase the power of laser equipment.
In 2017, the 10,000-watt laser cutting machine came out of nowhere, and China’s fiber laser cutting machine market began to move towards the 10,000-watt era, and even laser power to cut metal come into the subsequent 20,000-watt and 30,000-watt , and domestic and foreign laser power to cut metal manufacturers kept launching higher-powered fiber lasers, just like a race. Whether it is laser processing demand to promote the laser power, or laser power to promote the ultra-high power laser equipment, has been difficult to say.
The choice of the market and rational thinking
In this round of laser power to cut metal competition, Chinese laser cutting machine manufacturers are obviously leading the world, even earlier than foreign giants. Until an exhibition in Shanghai in 2019, the main laser power to cut metal equipment companies are still scrambling to launch 20KW, and even claim to have 30KW equipment, which seems to be a bit of a brain fever to indulge in power chasing.
Undeniably, to the domestic brand Rekor, Chuangxin, Jephte, Fibo, Guozhi and other companies continue to launch more than 10,000 watts fiber laser, foreign IPG, nLight and SPI is also advancing, making an important contribution to the development of fiber laser power to cut metal, but also for laser processing to open up more application space and possibilities. The increase of laser cutting machine power will bring higher processing efficiency. For the same thickness of the metal plate, with the current ultra-high power of the most popular 12KW laser cutting machine, the processing speed efficiency is almost twice as high as 6KW laser power to cut metal. As the efficiency of high power fiber laser performance continues to improve, prompting a significant increase in laser processing efficiency, or will be a universal tool for the future of mass production manufacturing.
However, we must see that the thickness of more than 40 mm of metal materials, mostly used in high-end equipment, large components, as well as special areas, special applications. The vast majority of common products in life and industrial manufacturing have laser processing needs within 20 mm, which laser power to cut metal is precisely the range of 2000 to 8000 watt lasers. On the one hand, we see that foreign companies do not deliberately pursue the 10,000-watt ultra-high power of metal laser cutting machines, but focus on recommending the right power according to the user’s processing situation. On the other hand, we also see that users are gradually becoming rational, and the laser power to cut metal market choice is gradually showing that the growth in shipments of cutting equipment above 10,000 watts has not reached expectations, but rather a rapid rise in medium to high power 2KW to 8KW.
Laser manufacturers are still working hard to improve the power of the light source, but with this power capability does not mean that the laser power to cut metal market can form a batch, in addition to the power of optical devices and supporting integrated products can follow up is also a major problem. In addition, to improve the processing speed is not just to improve the power, but also from the integrated machine tool, control system, motion table, the full body design and other mechanical factors to work.
Users are very clear about their own products and processing needs, they will eventually choose rationally in line with their own application of the power band, they are actually the most important is the stability of high power machine, the ability to continue processing.
Today, the laser power to cut metal has formed a pyramidal stratification, at the top of the pyramid, ultra-high power part of 10KW above the minority, its power level will be increasingly high. And the middle and high power part from 3KW to 10KW is the fastest growing area at present. The bottom application belongs to the cutting market below 2KW. Back to the actual application, the ultra-high power batch is not large, and at the real application level, the 2000-8000 watt laser power to cut metal usage is returning rapidly.
This pyramid structure is not static, the next five years or so, the domestic laser cutting market structure will be to “two small, large middle” change. Because the current small and medium power continuous laser has been very cheap, for procurement cost considerations, 3KW, 4KW laser power to cut metal equipment to nibble 1KW or 1.5KW is very easy, but 12KW above to nibble 3KW, 4KW and 6KW are not so easy to promote.
Advance layout of the future of the high power laser market
The laser industry is an industry with obvious globalization characteristics. 2020 to 2022 the new crown pneumonia epidemic rampant, so many laser companies’ orders suffered a Waterloo. A concomitant phenomenon is that the epidemic has dealt a blow to user investment confidence, people tend to be conservative in their investments, and the average laser power to cut metal of factory laser equipment has fallen very fast.
However, in May, China’s epidemic basically receded, the industries get a rapid recovery, coupled with the national policies to support the increase, the manufacturing demand for laser quickly rebounded. In the medium and high power applications, 3000 to 8000 watts laser power to cut metal is still the most worthy of attention. The reason mainly lies in the fact that this power band can meet most of the processing needs, a mature and complete industry chain has been formed in the market, and the cost performance is high in generalized application scenarios. Therefore, it is foreseeable that in the next few years, the medium and high power market capacity is the largest.