Air Compressor for Laser Cutting Machine

We offer advanced solutions tailored specifically for laser cutting machines. Our air compressor has efficient and reliable performance to meet the gas needs of various laser cutting machines. Oil free and dry compressed air ensures the quality and reliability of the cutting process, as well as the best cutting effect.

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Basic Principles of Air Laser Cutting Technology

Oxygen (O2), nitrogen (N2), and compressed air are the main auxiliary gases for laser cutting. However, most laser cutting work nowadays is done using compressed air because it is a cheaper and more convenient air assist, as compressed air can be directly provided by the air compressor. Compared to oxygen and nitrogen, it is easy to obtain and very cheap.
Generally speaking, unless there are strict requirements for the surface color of material cuts, using compressed air instead of nitrogen is the most economical and practical choice.

laser cutting air compressor

Laser Generation & Focusing

The laser inside the laser cutting machine emits laser, which is focused on a very small spot through a series of optical path systems, including reflectors and lenses, forming a beam with extremely high power density.

Material Heating & Melting

High energy laser beams irradiate the surface of the workpiece, rapidly heating the material above the melting point, resulting in localized melting.

Auxiliary Gas Function

During this process, air is sprayed into the cutting area under high pressure as an auxiliary gas, and the molten metal is blown away by high-speed airflow to achieve cleaning of the cutting surface; Due to the oxygen content in the air promoting the oxidation reaction of some metals, it facilitates the cutting process and forms a thin layer of oxide at the cutting seam, which helps to reduce the subsequent heat affected zone

Material Separation

As the laser moves, the molten material is continuously blown away, thus completing the cutting along the predetermined path.

The Role of Air Compressor in Laser Cutting

 

The air compressor plays an indispensable role in the laser cutting process. Its core function is to provide a stable and reliable air source for the cutting process, which is directly related to cutting efficiency, accuracy and the quality of the final product.

High-quality compressed air means clean, dry, and oil-free air. This is extremely important for laser cutting:

  • Purity: Avoid oil mist and impurities from contaminating optical components, such as laser lenses, and maintain the transmission efficiency and focusing accuracy of the beam.
  • Dryness: Moisture reduces cutting efficiency and can cause imperfections on the cut surface, such as oxidation, spots, or corrosion. Dry air can reduce these problems.
  • Oil-free: The oil-free compressor ensures that the air flow does not contain oil, which plays a decisive role in protecting the laser system from pollution, extending the life of the equipment, and maintaining cutting quality.

laser cutting air compressor2

The following is the specific role of air compressors in laser cutting:

Provide Stable Air Source

Cooling Effect

Blowing Slag

Auxiliary Gas Applications

The air compressor generates high-pressure gas by compressing air to provide a continuous and stable air flow for the laser cutting machine. This stable air supply is the basis for ensuring that the cutting process continues, especially in applications that require precise control of cutting speed and cutting depth. The pressure and flow of compressed air can be adjusted according to the thickness of the cutting material and the power of the laser to achieve the best cutting effect.

Although the main role of air in laser cutting is not direct cooling (laser cutting usually relies on an internal circulating water cooling system to cool the laser body), it indirectly participates in the temperature control of the cutting area. The flow of compressed air can take away part of the heat generated during the cutting process, reduce the heat-affected zone, help keep the cutting edge clean, and avoid material deformation or thermal stress concentration caused by local overheating.

During the cutting process, air is used as an auxiliary gas and is sprayed into the cutting area at high speed, which can effectively blow away the molten metal slag and smoke generated by cutting, keep the cutting seam clean, and prevent these residual substances from affecting the focus of the laser beam and cutting quality. This is essential to obtain a smooth, burr-free cut surface.

Under certain conditions, air can be used as an effective cutting auxiliary gas, especially when cutting materials such as mild steel. The oxygen component in the air helps to accelerate the oxidation and combustion process of the material and increase the cutting speed. However, for certain materials that are easily oxidized or sensitive to thermal effects (such as stainless steel or aluminum), it may be necessary to use nitrogen or other inert gases to reduce oxidation, and the air compressor is also responsible for supplying these gases.

Recommended Air Compressors For Your Laser Cutting Machine

laser cutting air compressor1

Micro-oil 1.8MPa pressure permanent magnet variable frequency screw air compressor

Two-stage compression micro-oil 3.0MPa screw air

2-stage compression micro-oil 3.0MPa screw air compressor

Key Parameters of Air Compressor

  • Pressure (Psi or Bar)
    Pressure refers to the intensity of compressed air output by an air compressor. Commonly used units are pounds per square inch (Psi) and bar (Bar). In laser cutting, the required pressure range usually depends on the type of material being cut, its thickness, and cutting speed requirements. Higher pressure can provide stronger slag blowing ability, which helps to quickly remove molten metal and residue during the cutting process, thereby improving cutting efficiency and cutting quality. However, too high pressure may also increase energy consumption and equipment wear, so it needs to be set reasonably according to actual needs. For example, for thicker sheet metal cutting, higher pressure may be required to ensure cut quality and speed.
  • Flow rate (CFM or m³/h)
    Flow represents the volume of air provided by the air compressor per unit time, in cubic feet per minute (CFM) and cubic meters per hour (m³/h). Choosing the right flow rate is very important to match the power and frequency of use of the laser cutting machine. If the flow rate is insufficient, it may cause unstable gas supply during the cutting process and affect the cutting effect, such as uneven cutting surfaces or excessive heat-affected zones. On the contrary, although excessive flow can provide sufficient gas support, it will also increase energy consumption. Therefore, it is necessary to select appropriate flow specifications based on the power of the laser cutting machine and the highest peak demand of daily operations.
  • Air quality
    Drying, filtering and purifying compressed air is critical to protecting the precision components of your laser cutting system, especially the optics. Untreated compressed air may contain moisture, oil mist, dust and other impurities, which will contaminate laser lenses, reflectors, etc., reduce beam quality, shorten equipment service life, and even lead to frequent maintenance and replacement costs. Dryers are used to remove moisture from the air to prevent water vapor from condensing into water in low-temperature environments and damaging the system; filters and purifiers are used to intercept oil droplets, solid particles and particles to ensure that the supplied air is clean and pollution-free.
  • Noise level
    Air compressors produce noise during operation, which can be a problem in some work environments, especially where a quiet operating environment is required, such as in factories or offices near residential areas. Therefore, when choosing an air compressor, it is important to consider its noise level (usually expressed in decibels dB(A)). Modern compressor designs tend to adopt sound insulation technology and low-noise operating modes to meet the noise restriction needs of different environments. When planning the installation location, additional soundproofing measures should also be considered, such as installing a soundproof enclosure or locating it away from noise-sensitive areas.

Screw VS Piston Air Compressor

Oil free Screw Air CompressorOil free Piston Air Compressor  
Air quality100% Oil-freeAir cylinder Oil-free, Crankcase has oil 
Compression Method2 Stage Screw3 Stage Piston
Lubricating MediumPure WaterNone
TemperatureLow: < 55℃, No need for coolingHigh: 125~200℃, After cooling about 60℃
Cooling MethodWater Cooled (Only one cooler for lubricating water)Water Cooled (Two interstage cooler and one aftercooler for compressed air)
Rotate Speed3000 r/min Ideal Speed600~900 r/min Low Speed
Vibration and NoiseBalance and Simple structure, low vibration, and less noiseThe pistons rise and fall or move back and forth causing too much vibration and Noise
Costs – PurchasingMoreLess
Costs – FoundationNo costsRequire foundation and grouting due to high unbalanced forces & high vibration.
Costs – MaintenanceOnly Air filter elements and Water filter elementsHigh wear & tear of moving parts like piston rings, valves, etc.
Costs – Energy (e.g. 40bar 10m3/min)Motor Power: 110kW (1st stage 75kW+2nd stage 37kW)Motor Power: 132kW
Capacity LossThere is no loss / very minor loss in Capacity over a period.There is De-ration in Capacity due to wear and tear in cylinder crank case, piston rings, pistons and valves.

Air Compressor Buying Considerations

 

Budget planning: balancing investment costs with long-term operating costs

  • Initial investment: Consider the purchase price of the equipment, including any required accessories and installation costs.
  • Operating costs: The cost of electricity, maintenance, repairs and replacement parts are also important in the long term. Although the initial investment of high-efficiency and energy-saving equipment may be high, it can significantly reduce operating costs in the long term.
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): Evaluating the total cost from procurement to scrap can help make more economical and reasonable decisions.

Brand and after-sales service

  • Brand reputation: Choose brands with good market reputation and user reviews. These brands tend to provide more reliable product quality.
  • After-sales service: Consider the brand's after-sales service network, including technical support, quick response times, warranty policies and availability of wearing parts. Quality service can reduce downtime and losses when equipment issues arise.

Energy efficiency

  • Energy efficiency rating: Choosing an air compressor with a high energy efficiency rating can significantly reduce energy consumption and save a lot of money on electricity bills in the long run.
  • Variable frequency technology: Consider whether to use a variable frequency drive (VFD) compressor, which can automatically adjust the output according to actual needs to further save energy.

Installation and space requirements

  • Dimensions and weight: Make sure the equipment you choose is suitable for the intended installation site, taking into account floor load- and space layout.
  • Ventilation: The air compressor will generate heat when running. Ensure that the installation site has good ventilation conditions to maintain the normal operating temperature of the equipment.
  • Ease of installation: Consider the ease of installation, including ease of access to plumbing, electrical supply and drainage.
  • Environmental factors: Assess whether the surrounding environment may cause potential damage to the equipment, such as humidity, dust, etc., and consider whether special protective measures are required.
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