CO2 vs. fiber laser comparison sparks controversy at AKL 2012

Aachen, Germany -- This week's International Laser Technology Conference (AKL) finished up on a high note today completing a busy three-day conference that kept a record attendance of more than 600 industrial laser enthusiasts rotating around concurrent sessions. In between sessions, the exhibition of more than 60 sponsoring companies was busy with interested and prospective buyers. A mostly laser-savvy audience packed the session halls. The two recurring themes of ultrafast-pulse and fiber laser materials processing drew the largest attendance.

[See David's previous report from AKL 2012: No laser recession in the UK's Midlands.]

A somewhat controversial presentation on choosing a fiber laser or CO2 laser cutter for job shop work precipitated a hot discussion in the Q&A session. The presenter, Dr. John Powell, describing the results of his direct comparisons testing, concluded that for thin metal cutting the fiber proved most economical, and that the CO2 was a better choice for thicker metals.

When asked directly what he, from his years of experience in the business, would choose as a startup, he said unquestionably a CO2 unit. The fallout after this session carried into the evening's social event, where it was a hot topic among attendees.

AKL has grown into a timely and industrial-centered event. The organizers, Fraunhofer ILT, by inviting a select panel of 60 presenters, has turned this formerly private event into a "must attend" biannual event. Kudos to ILT for being in tune with the educational needs of the industrial laser community.

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