With a higher wattage laser, the big machines start at around a $150,000. These are for more sheet metal manufacturing companies, which is different than smaller lasers for marking metals for signage.
When looking into purchasing a laser system, you have to consider the day-to-day consumables cost. When you’re operating a machine like a fiber laser versus a CO2 laser, you have the consumable of the laser itself. We have a lifespan on CO2 lasers of about five years. I would say that you could probably double that on a fiber laser; the lifespan is closer to 10 years on a fiber laser. That’s one area of consideration on cost involved in these larger laser systems. But you also have optical lenses and nozzles and different parts that are right at the cutting area that have to be replaced along with assist gases for a consumable to cut such as nitrogen and oxygen.
—Kern Laser Systems