Poor Laser Quality Cuts Into Your Profits

It’s Critical that Carbon Dioxide Lasers are Protected from Contaminates and Other Elements

A clean laser operates better and keeps your metfab shop running at its peak performance. But when contaminants such as moisture, hydrocarbons, halocarbons, and other impurities get into the resonator chamber, you can have big problems on your hands. These problems cut into your product quality, leading to production delays and increased frequency of laser cleaning and downtime for maintenance. As laser processors look to increase their productivity, they are beginning to reevaluate traditional gases for laser cutting and developing better, cleaner gas blend options to optimize laser beam quality in CO2 lasers. Praxair anticipated these strict specifications and developed LaserStar resonating gases, including LaserStar 5.5.  

“The impurities were reducing laser power and creating an unstable operation, which could damage the expensive optics.”

– Jerry Sackman Praxair General Sales Manager

A Loss of Productivity?

The team at Defiance Metal Products, Inc., an advanced manufacturer of metal parts across a variety of industries, was noticing slower cutting speeds and power loss in their laser processes. Linking the problems to the quality of the resonator chambers, Defiance was more frequently shutting down in order to clean and decontaminate their lasers — sending their production time into a downward spiral. But the frustration increased when the solution wouldn’t stick, and they kept facing the same problem over and over. Realizing that their problem needed an experienced partner, they called Praxair. Defiance knew they could rely on Praxair’s years of experience and proven results improving laser performance and quality. “Praxair was the best choice for us to be certain we’d find a solution considering the variety of materials we use in our processes,” said Dennis Wegerer, Laser Department Lead/PMC Manager for Defiance. Praxair met with the Defiance team, and after reviewing their situation, Praxair conducted a complete StarSolver® productivity enhancement audit into the Defiance’s laser processes. The Praxair team reviewed current processes and looked closely at their laser quality issues. After a complete laser system audit, the team carefully analyzed the data to find and recommend the most effective solution to fix the problem. Praxair determined that Defiance was using a lower-quality resonator gas and this was allowing too many contaminants into the laser chamber. “The impurities were reducing laser power and creating an unstable operation, which could damage the expensive optics,” said Jerry Sackman, general sales manager for Praxair. “This also caused Defiance to cycle through more gas.” The Praxair team recommended the implementation of the LaserStar™ 5.5 Resonator Gas, a 99.9995 percent pure, pre-blended mixture of helium, nitrogen, carbon dioxide that optimizes laser beam quality in carbon dioxide lasers.

Available as a pure gas or as a pre-blended mix, Praxair LaserStar gases were designed and produced to meet the stringent requirements of the laser processing industry. LaserStar gases help ensure optimum laser performance, maximum operating duty cycle and minimum maintenance costs. LaserStar 5.5 is 10 times cleaner than the industry’s minimum standard and for optimal quality assurance, Praxair packages LaserStar 5.5 in aluminum cylinders to maintain its quality long after it is delivered to the customer. Praxair’s LaserStar 5.5 resonator gas also helps to protect the other expensive accessories, like optics and bend mirrors. A cleaner gas will keep them cleaner, longer and will not require excessive maintenance. “Praxair’s LaserStar gases are just as important as a properly designed gas delivery system to ensuring peak laser performance,” said Sackman. “LaserStar gases are a real cost-saver for our customers because they help reduce downtime and help cut down on maintenance time and expenses.”

More Power, More Productivity

According to Wegerer, following the upgrade to the LaserStar 5.5 resonator gas, Defiance has been able to operate their laser at higher power levels for longer periods, and they have even increased their cutting speeds by 10 percent. “With the high-purity resonator gas, our optics and bend mirrors inside the resonator stay cleaner longer, which results in better performance for longer periods of time,” said Wegerer. “We continue seeing extended maintenance cycles and lower operating costs, while providing our customers with the quality products they have come to expect from Defiance.”

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