This is often the critical question before investing in new machine technology. In most cases, pure confusion reigns when a range of information is obtained from an exhibition visit, for example. The prospective purchaser is exposed to a flood of arguments and characteristics which should now ideally be weighed against one another. There is a lot of information on the market, and every system provider naturally presents his products uncritically and to the advantage of the prospective purchaser. How then does the user come to a rational decision?
Make a list of the main criteria which will influence your decision
- Production advantages
- Product advantages
- Reduction of tolerances
- Reduction of waste
- Minimisation of tooling costs
- Reduction of production engineering
- Ergonomical aspects
You should first focus on these and other criteria in order to replace one or more production steps with a suitable laser application.
Below, we will highlight the questions to ask in order to arrive at a fact-based decision in favour of a laser application.
Check which basic requirements apply to you
- What is the application?
marking / engraving / cutting
- Is the material or range of materials basically suitable for processing with a CO2 laser?
- How large/small are the products to be manufactured?
- What are the dimensions/formats of the material to be processed that is to be placed on the processing table?
- What are my expectations of the application?
Quality / Quantity / Flexibility / Costs
Checklist for selecting the correct provider for your CO2 laser system
If the questions have been adequately answered and a laser application appears to be a reasonable alternative to conventional production processes, then you should particularly take into account the following points when purchasing any CO2 laser system.
1. Material test with documentation
Before investing in laser technology, you should be sure to have your usual materials tested by the system provider with your special requirements. A specific demonstration in your presence will leave no questions open. In this way, you will avoid disappointment and window-dressing and therefore poor investment in advance.
Make an appointment with our application expert
2. Special configuration of the technology
Check whether the supplier will configure a system that is specifically adapted to your usage requirements. This is the only way you will be able to achieve the highest quality and maximum output with the best possible processing parameters.
Find out more about the modularity or the eurolaser systems
3. Warranty claims
Make sure that the system manufacturer offers you a complete system in which the components are mutually compatible. In this way, not only does CE conformity lie with one manufacturer, but also the warranty and warranty claims can be directed to one address.
eurolaser will optionally extend your warranty for up to 5 years
4. Table size and installation
Check the required work surface before your purchase and also consider that your products might change over time. The proper table size is thus an important criterion. For the installation to be performed smoothly after purchase without a crane or low loader, the CO2 laser systems should be of modular design and demountable.
Take a look at all table sizes at a glance
5. Sturdy lightweight design
The moving components and axes should be in lightweight design but still be robust. If the specific weight is too high, this restricts acceleration and leads to inaccurate positioning results. Vibrations must not adversely affect the results of the application at high speeds.
6. Ergonomics and operational safety
The laser beam should be guided within the system so that no laser radiation is exposed in any case and therefore does not present a risk of injury. On the other hand, this should not affect direct access to the processed material. Furthermore, safety equipment should not interfere with operation unnecessarily.
More on the topic of safety concepts
7. Precision and dynamics
In general, the movement system and the laser beam source are the most important components in a laser system. They substantially determine the life of the equipment and the quality of the application results.
Find out more about our motion system
8. CO2-Laser beam sources
The CO2 laser source should NOT consists of a glass tube. If the power is more than 60 watts, it must be constantly cooled by means of a water cooling system in order to guarantee stable laser power for the process in years to come.
More on the topic of CO2 laser beam sources
9. Extraction technology
Sophisticated extraction systems ensure the economical removal of process emissions. This applies to cutting applications both above and below the processed material. At the same time, exhaust quality is not always the same. Exact matching of the air quantity required and a balanced extraction concept considerably reduces maintenance effort and at the same time guarantees a pleasant working climate at the fabrication site.
All information on extraction technology
10. Optical components
The optical cutting system is likewise substantially responsible for the application results. This should withstand a common material crash without damage and not have too much in the way of expensive control electronics. Possible repair costs can be avoided when the system is robustly designed but is finely adjustable.
Find out more about optical components
11. Software and control
We do not recommend obtaining design software from the machine builder. An "open software system" can be controlled by any customary design software running on a commercially available PC by means of different driver software. At the same time, the range increases as operating systems are improved. This provides independence and allows sufficient scope for industry-specific specialisations.
Find out more about our software modules
12. Design and data preparation
Design software and drawing programs should remain independent of the system technology. This saves additional investment in software products and protracted training and re-training.
Be creative with our software module CREATE
13. Adaptability of the laser systems
Before purchasing, make sure the laser systems can be expanded. Technology keeps developing and should be constructed in such a way that you can always be up to date with technology by making subsequent changes. A well thought out modular principle is thus a good solution.
14. Flexibility for machining
Often, in the course of time, the requirements for the range of machining options and material selection also change. You should consider carefully whether your new laser system is flexible in this regard. Oscillating knives, milling cutters or sign and marking systems can be a sensible addition to a CO2 laser. Check whether your system is able to also cover such applications.
More about optional extensions
15. Cost-effectiveness and output
Remember that your investment is idle during loading and unloading and thus does not generate any turnover. These downtimes can be minimised with special automation techniques to optimise the cost-effectiveness of a laser system.
More about increasing efficiency and cost-effectiveness
16. Training on the topic of laser technology
The user should be sufficiently enlightened with regard to possible hazards and be able to study the handling of the system technology in a comprehensive training course.
More on the topic of training and further education
17. Comprehensive customer care
Excellent after sales service and upgrade options are very important basic requirements which should be met in order to keep the equipment up-to-date at all times over the long life of the system technology.
Overview of our customer service
18. Manageable and predictable costs
Regular service and maintenance costs - after commissioning and if the system is used correctly - should not exceed 3% of the purchase price for each year of operation.
Overview of maintaining the laser systems
19. Long-term availability of spare parts
For you to put your laser system to profitable use long-term, the supply of spare parts is a crucial factor. Before your purchase, make sure that you will be able to easily obtain any required spare parts for as long a period as possible. 10 or more years, and worldwide availability should be ensured by the provider.
Find out more about the availability of spare parts
Laser system manufacturers sometimes offer only small production runs or individually manufactured units. For the typical user, this so-called special machine build can often only be a one-sided manufacturing solution. In practice, however, flexibility and
modularity are required in order to satisfy changing demands. A well-engineered, solid basis with a transparent structure in design and concept is therefore a benchmark for the whole system technology.