of Laser Cutting
CO2 laser machines were the cornerstone of our company’s early growth. Now this era, which laid the foundation for today’s Bystronic Group, is coming to an end. This is attributable to a drastic technological transition that began some ten years ago: Bystronic’s success story from CO2 to fiber lasers.
Around the turn of the millennium, various laser companies started developing fiber lasers for industrial applications. Starting in 2004, the first demonstrators with 2 kW laser output were launched, and Bystronic kicked off initial experiments in 2005. At that time, such laser sources were incredibly expensive – easily the equivalent of the price tag for a luxury sports car.
We unveiled the ByStar Fiber 10 kW with the new SSC solid state fiber cutting head at EuroBLECH in 2016. At that time we promoted the machine with the term “warp speed” – in recognition of the fact that for many applications, fiber technology was much faster than CO2. In doing so, we made a clear mark on the market and opened a new chapter in the success story of fiber technology. However, these successes were overshadowed by technological challenges relating to the machine and cutting head, which put us to a tough test. Ultimately, however, this contributed to the strengthening of fiber technology.
Since the advent of fiber technology, we have always been at the forefront of the “power race” and usually even the trendsetter. Today we offer machines with an output of up to 30 kW, and in many cases, the productivity of our laser machines is higher than what our customers can reasonably utilize. Therefore, our new focus is on the “solution mindset” – how can we help our customers increase their overall productivity? This is where topics such as the smart factory, automation, and software solutions come into play. Fiber technology can continue to provide an impetus here with smart features, predictive maintenance, but also with new cutting head concepts. In addition, we continue to benefit from the falling prices for fiber lasers. Further increases in performance cannot be ruled out, but these must be driven by a market demand.