- Laser source
- Optical or motion system that moves the laser beam around in order to draw characters or logos
- Computerized control system that can turn the laser on and off, control the position of the laser beam through the optical system and provide a proper interface for the operator to define what they are going to mark, how they are going to mark and where they are going to mark.
- Housing that contains all of the necessary power requirements for the laser, scanhead, switches, solenoids and lights, all of the interconnection wiring and everything else that turns these components into a system.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Then why do they cost so much? Almost, if not all, steered beam (galvo driven) laser marking system manufacturers purchase some of the most specialized and expensive components in the marking system and integrate those components into their own design. Let’s take a look at the cost of some of the components that make up a fiber laser marking system:
Laser source – The price per watt of output power of a q switched fiber laser module ranges from about $500- $1,000 per watt, depending on laser size. A 20 watt OEM fiber laser module has a price tag from the manufacturer of about $12,300 and a 50 watt OEM fiber laser module has a price tag of about $22,400.
Optical system – A steered beam marking system uses a scanhead with galvanometers to move the laser beam through a flat field lens which focuses the laser beam in a plane of some size at the marking surface of the part. A good galvanometer scanhead with a lens that provides a 7 inch square marking field has a cost of about $10,500-$11,000. This cost does not include the hardware to house the scanhead and laser or provide any intermediary optics such as beam expanders. Figure in another $2,000-$3000 for those things.
A computerized control system with user friendly, functional software and control boards is about a $6,000-$6,500 item. Much of that cost is in the form of purchased OEM components such as marking software and interface boards.
A proper control housing as described in item 4 above will have a cost of about $1,500-$2,000 just to buy the components inside of it.
Some of these items, such as scanheads, lenses and software, can just be purchased from the same sources that integrators buy them from. The other components have to be designed, manufactured and assembled. Add these costs together and the component costs for a 20 watt fiber laser marker come out to about $33,500 or so. Those components still have to be connected together correctly, configured as a system, calibrated, tested and supported during the life of the system. Eventually they must be mounted into some sort of workstation that provides a home for the components, positions the laser above whatever platform the work is going to be located on and provides the Z axis adjustment necessary to put the marking surface of the work at the focal point of the flat field lens. The price of the components listed above do not include a workstation and the cost of that depends on how elegant or functional it is.
There are less expensive components available. These days one can find foreign knock offs of fiber lasers, scanheads, control boards and software. I have no comment about the quality or support of those items other than to say that we just won’t use them.
If one really wants to get into laser marking with minimal expense, there are many used YAG laser marking systems on the market, sometimes at ridiculously low prices. An eBay search of YAG laser marking systems usually yields several examples. A reason for the low price is that many users are replacing YAG lasers with fiber lasers and YAG lasers seem to have a very low resale value these days. Many companies or individuals that are selling YAG laser markers so cheaply don’t realize that some of the components such as scanheads, lenses and laser marking software may still be perfectly functional and actually have more worth than the asking sale price of the complete system. These items can frequently be removed and then integrated into a new fiber laser marking system, offsetting much of the expense of the new fiber laser marker. Existing YAG laser marker workstations can frequently be modified to accept the smaller, lighter fiber lasers.
So why buy a full price new fiber laser marking system with the best components, engineered, and built by a company that has over 20 years experience?
Because when you need your mark to be perfect, it will be with a Jimani Langolier Fiber Laser Marking System.
Because when you have a programming applications problem, and you will, you can call us and we will make sure we walk you through the solution.
Because when you need the laser system to run through many cycles in a tough work environment and you cannot afford to be down, Jimani and the Langolier will not let you down.
Because cost is measured not just in components but in ease of use, quality, consistancy, and support. We know how to make these systems work for you because we have so for over 20 years.