10kW+ Laser Drives Revolutionary Transition in Metal Processing Industry

Views: 70     Author: Rebecca     Publish Time: 2021-08-24      Origin: Site

Recently, the topic on rapid cutting for carbon steel has become hot in the laser industry, and the efficiency improvement brought by the new process is a further proof that ultra-high power laser cutter is not just a gimmick. At the same time, with the continuous improvement of laser power and processing technology, more and more heavy industries have begun to use laser cutting instead of plasma cutting. To further explore the impact of laser power and process improvement on the metal processing industry, SENFENG LEIMING Laser tested the cutting effect of various laser processes to demonstrate why 10kw+ laser cutting machine is your wise choice in this fast-changing field.


Processing upgrade 1.0: from plasma to laser

Before laser application, carbon steel plate is usually processed by flame cutting, plasma cutting, high pressure water cutting and other traditional processes, which is dominated by plasma cutting. Plasma cutting is the use of high temperature plasma arc heat to make the notch of the workpiece. Plasma cutting with different working gas can cut almost all types of metal, ultra thick plate can also be cut by adjusting the electric current.  


For plasma cutting, the electric current of plasma power supply is the most important process parameters, directly determines the thickness and speed of the cutting: the greater the current, the more plasma arc energy, the stronger the cutting ability, and the faster the cutting speed.  However, the increase of electric current also increases the diameter of plasma arc, thickens the arc and widens the slot. At the same time, too much electric current will increase the thermal load of the nozzle, and the cutting quality will decrease greatly after the nozzle damage.


When cutting thin plate, plasma has the advantages of fast speed, smooth surface, but when it comes to the thicker material, plasma cutting makes rougher surface with burrs and big taper ratio. In addition, due to the wide diameter of plasma arc, plasma cutting can not cut small holes.  Then, there comes laser. In response to the impact of the laser cutting, plasma industry developed fine plasma cutting equipment by greatly reducing nozzle size and compressing arc,  to achieve a higher cutting precision and better finish, but still, it cannot reach the effect of the laser cutting.  


9 advantages compared with Plasma


Laser Cutter

Plasma Cutter


Position accuracy



Higher accuracy

Taper Ratio



No subsequent processing needed

Cutting line width



Material saving 6-9%




Material saving 6-9%

Heat area



Less deformation by heat

Cutting effect



No Grinding needed

Cutting speed



High efficiency


 Dia/ Deep 10-20%

No Small holes

Save drilling

Working environment



Healthy and environment friendly


Laser cutting with higher speed, higher accuracy, more environmental friendly has gradually win market recognition. In the early period, when laser power is low, it only has advantages in thin plate processing. In recent couple of years, the laser power continues to rise, from 6kW, to 8kW, 12kW, 15kW, 20kW, and finally to 30kW. With continues improvement of laser power and the advancement of the process, the bottleneck of laser cutting has been broken.  


Processing upgrade 2.0: process iteration in laser cutting

Up to now, carbon steel cutting with the improvement of laser power has been worked out of four common processes, which are matte surface cutting process, smooth surface cutting process, air/nitrogen cutting process, and the latest oxygen fast cutting process. SENFENG R&D used  20kW laser to cut 20mm carbon steel, and the cutting effect of various laser processes was tested.  


Early matte surface cutting process used oxygen with large nozzle. Due to the low power, cutting speed is very slow, the workpiece taper is larger.  In the test, the output power of Senfeng laser is 2kW, with cutting speed of 0.65m/min, and the unilateral taper of sample is 0.5mm.  


Matte surface Cutting for 20mm carbon steel


The smooth surface cutting process uses smaller nozzles to increase the cutting speed, improve the quality of the cutting section, and reduce the taper of the workpiece.  In the test, Senfeng laser output power is 20kW with cutting speed of 1.7m/min, and sample unilateral taper is 0.1mm. If high quality is required, smooth surface cutting process is needed.  


Smooth surface cutting for 20mm carbon steel


The advantage of the air/nitrogen cutting process is that the speed is greatly increased. The speed of carbon steel cutting is increased to the level of the speed to cut stainless steel, and the cost of air is much lower, with the only need to bear the cost of air compressor and air purification system. However, the surface of air cutting is relatively rough, and the burrs left are difficult to remove, so you’ll need to use additional grinding tools. In the test, Senfeng laser uses laser power of 20kW with cutting speed of 3m/min, and sample unilateral taper is 0.15mm.  


Air Cutting for 20mm carbon steel


The latest oxygen fast cutting process has been applied in the market, and has been welcomed by the market with fast speed (13% more than air cutting, 100% more than smooth surface cutting) and no burrs are left after cutting. Although quality is not as good as the smooth surface cutting, it is better than the air/nitrogen cutting. In the test, Senfeng laser uses power of 20kW with cutting speed of 3.4m/min, and sample unilateral taper is 0.15mm.  


Flash Cutting for 20mm carbon steel


20mm Carbon Steel Processing Comparison


Matte surface

Smooth surface








Cutting speed (m/min)





Unilateral taper (mm)






In addition to the above tests, Sengfeng engineers also used the latest technology to cut 30mm carbon steel.  After testing, the speed can be up to 2m/min by using oxygen flash cutting to cut 30mm carbon steel with unilateral taper of 0.2mm.  


Flash Cutting for 30mm carbon steel


Technology integration: multi-function to optimize of the process flow  

Low power laser cutting was used for coil feeding processing. With the continuous improvement of laser power and new process, 10kW+ laser cutting has begun integrate multi functions into one machine. For example, in processing of the gear shown in the below picture, the 20kW laser cutting machine can replace the plasma cutting machine, deburring machine, milling machine, with the advantage of being able to cut sharp corners and smooth surfaces at one time, to meet the high precision requirements of aerospace, power equipment, petroleum equipment, automotive manufacturing and other industries. The processing time is reduced from 27min5s to 58s (the processing time of 12kW laser cutting machine is 1min30s).  


In addition, we’ve added bevel cutting function to achieve one machine replacing plasma machine, drilling machine, milling machine, deburring machine and other machines. At present, Senfeng has pushed high power bevel laser cutting machine to the market. A carbon steel disc with a diameter of 2m and a thickness of 18mm. We need to cut 560 round holes of various sizes, including plane cutting, 45 degree V-shaped and Y-shaped bevel cutting. If we use traditional technology, we’ll need a drilling machine to drill holes, a milling machine to mill large holes, deburring, chamfering and other processes, after a number of shifts and repositioning, it takes 4 people and 2 days to complete the process. While 15kW laser cutting machine with bevel cutting from SENGENG, only requires one operator to complete all the process, which only takes 3.5 hours, greatly improves the efficiency, saves time, site, manpower, etc.  



We can see the how power improvement has a significant effect on process upgrading: on the one hand, it can improve the ability, efficiency and quality. On the other hand, it can replace traditional processes and equipment, saving time and workforce.  


The application and promotion of 10kW+ laser cutting machine bring more possibilities for metal processing, and it is therefore popular in the market. From the perspective of market choice, 10kW+ laser machine has gone through being questioned to being recognized. Senfeng Leiming Laser, as laser expert, provides 10kW+ fiber laser cutting machine with top level quality. Contact us to upgrade your production line.


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E-mail: senfeng@sfcnclaser.com




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