The Current Situation and Future Development of Laser Cutting Machine
Release Date : 09/30/2016
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As an advanced sheet metal processing technology, laser cutting machine has its own significant advantages such as high efficiency, high accuracy and high flexibility. It is rapidly and widely used in industrial machinery industry, and attracts close attention by a growing number of populations in the industry. With the continuous development over the past 40 years, laser cutting machine is now growing its maturity. But how will it develop in the future? What is the development trend of it? Under the background of China’s ambition of realizing manufacturing transformation & upgrading and smart manufacturing, the above two issues deserve particular discussion.
The current situation of laser cutting machines:
In order to have an insight into the current situation of laser cutting machines, we may summarize and analyze the following aspects.
Laser cutting machine achieved an epoch-making revolution
A laser light source revolution of laser cutting machines kicked off after Han’s Laser Smart Equipment Group pioneered the world’s first high-power fiber laser cutting machine at the end of 2008. Eight years have passed, high-power CO2 laser cutting machine has fallen into the abyss by serious decline. The epoch-making fiber laser cutting machine has secured its leading role by its ability to achieve higher cutting efficiency, lower operating cost, and more extensive cutting range. The representative event is: Han’s Laser becomes the world second largest manufacturer of laser cutting machines with its lofty technology strategy and market advantages. Those Germany, USA maker of CO2 laser that occupied China and international market 10 years ago are now sink into the bottom. World main suppliers of laser cutting machines have to switch to the development and sales of fiber laser cutting machines, and a large number of manufacturers that only make fiber laser cutting machine have emerged both internationally and domestically. This laser light source technology revolution has brought tremendous benefit of investment to end-users and a value chain of multibillion dollars for the market. In recent years, for industrial lasers used in laser processing that have been manufactured and sold in the world, more than 40% of them are used for laser cutting, which surpasses laser welding, laser marking, laser texturing, laser heat treatment and laser cladding. Ranked the first in industrial laser applications, showing laser cutting technology has a very important technical application status, and also indicates that laser cutting machine has a very eye-catching space for development. This is the most important technical revolution ever since laser cutting machine was born.
High, middle, and low power fiber laser cutting machine are developed hand in hand
Because CO2 laser cutting machine in all aspect are marginalized, so here while we talk about laser cutting machines, we all talk about fiber laser cutting machines. In recent 5 years, 300-1000W low-power fiber laser cutting machine, 1000-3000W middle-power fiber laser cutting machine, and over 3000W high-power fiber laser cutting machine, are all realized rapid development in their own area due to different cutting capabilities, this development can be described as hand in hand. This is also the best proof for the era of fiber laser cutting machine.
A significant improvement of the automation of laser cutting machine
Is laser cutting machine just sheet metal precision cutting equipment? Yes, but not always. In the first two decades of laser cutting machine, it was in a development process of stability. After this process, the development direction of laser cutting machine has turned to specialized applications such as die board cutting, cloth cutting, tube cutting, 2D plate cutting, robotic 3D cutting and 3D5Axis cutting. They are all standard products nowadays. Yet, it also develops in the automation direction. For a laser cutting machine, if equipped with the auxiliary units such as automatic loading, automatic unloading, automatic scrap recovery, and finished products automatic handling, it will efficiently reduce the working load, workers, standby duration and even achieves unattended laser cutting operation, so as to improve the efficiency of a laser cutting machine. An example is the FMS laser cutting automation system developed by Han’s Laser in 2010 (as shown below). It is the proof that laser cutting machine is developing towards the direction of achieving automation.
In fact, all the well-known laser cutting machine manufacturers in the world are devoting their efforts to the field of automation, and trying to grasp the first-mover advantage. These efforts also lead the applicable development of laser cutting machine.
The future development of laser cutting machines
Laser cutting machine will continue its epoch-making revolution
Laser light source is the core part of laser cutting machines. It is also an important indicator that decides the type and cutting capability of a laser cutting machine. Undoubtedly, the future revolution of laser cutting machines will also occur in laser light source. As mentioned above, the greatest technological revolution for the past 40 years was fiber laser cutting machine replaced the position of CO2 laser cutting machine, thus brought epoch-making economic benefit to the manufacturers and users in this field. Therefore, in the future, is it possible to have a new light source, which is cheaper, with better performance, better beam quality, and more wall-plug efficiency than fiber laser light source? The answer is of course yes. What is this laser? It is hard to give an accurate answer right now. The development of science is sometimes slow and sometimes superfast. Currently, I can only say that the development of semiconductor laser deserves close attention for the people in this industry.
High-power fiber laser becomes the main force in the market of laser cutting machine
Currently, fiber laser cutting machine are booming despite of the power differences. However, what is the main stream of laser power for laser cutting machine? Though laser cutting machines are useful at all power range, but Han’s Laser Smart Equipment Group, who started from high-power fiber laser and triggered the global technological revolution of laser cutting machine put higher power, higher precision and higher cutting capability as the main direction of development. In the 13th China International Machine Tool & Tools Exhibition CIMES2016, Han’s Laser Smart Equipment Group launched 8000W fiber laser cutting machine, pushed applicable high power laser to its pinnacle. It was an unprecedented breakthrough in both cutting speed and thickness that attracted heated attention worldwide. Is this event contains the development trend for laser cutting machine? The answer deserves expectations of industrial experts, scholars and our users. In addition, we can be sure that in the near future, a plethora of the manufacturers of fiber laser cutting machines in the world will suffer a reshuffle in the fierce market competition, only the ones with excellent product quality, continuous investment in R&D, and master the core technology will survive and prosperous.
The era of smart manufacturing is approaching
Either German industry 4.0 or China’s smart manufacturing symbolized that the 4th industrial revolution is coming stealthily. The automation of laser cutting machine will tremendously improve the production ability of sheet metal workshop and its automation. (The blow picture is the automatic system of laser tube cutting machine from Han’s Laser Smart Equipment Group, it realized a full line of automation)
In the future, an era of laser cutting machine smart manufacturing is brewing in field of industries such as network technology, communication technology and computer software technology. It can be predicted that as a means of precision sheet metal cutting, it will surely become an important part in the sheet metal workshop with unwinding machine, bending machine, CNC punching machine, welding (riveting) machine, shot blasting and painting equipment to form an integrated production plan, mission and assessment management by its own network communication capability. Therefore, manufacturers of laser cutting machine will gradually become sheet metal processing contractor. Han’s Laser Smart Equipment Group, as the demonstration and pilot unit of 2015 smart manufacturing project by the MIIT, with its visions on the future development and its advantage of technologies, is dedicating to forge a sheet metal smart factory by its own capability of systematic technology integration together with strategic partners such as Hunan University and universities in Beijing to create a new era of production-academy-research.