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Trumpf has explained the importance of calculating sheet metal laser cutting costs and the factors that must be taken into account to select the best machine and process for the job.

These days, it is more important than ever to factor economics into production.

But in order to save costs in laser processing, users must know the critical points in the process at which they can influence their parts costs.

The largest single cost – on average – is material, which accounts for approximately 50 per cent.

Machine costs represent another 26 per cent of the total and the operator accounts for 18 per cent.

The user’s costs for power and gas only amount to three per cent of the total.

In addition to these factors, there is another aspect with a decisive effect on the cost per part: the machine’s productivity.

The more parts per hour a laser system can cut, the greater its cost effectiveness.

With a simple formula, users can calculate the real level of cost per part: the machine-hour rate (euro per hour) divided by productivity (parts per hour) plus material costs.

Therefore the machine-hour rate is only one side of the coin when calculating cost per part.

The productivity of the machine is at least as important.

The more parts per hour the machine cuts, the lower is the final cost per part – a decisive variable in decreasing the cost per part.

This can be illustrated with a sample calculation: a CO2 laser cuts 60 parts an hour out of a sheet of 2mm thickness.

In the same time, a solid-state laser produces 86 parts because of its higher cutting speed.

The user’s cost for a part cut with a CO2 laser is EUR4.02 but the cost of a part cut with a solid-state laser is only EUR3.32.

This difference reflects only the higher productivity of the solid-state laser cutting machine since none of the other cost factors have a decisive effect on the cost of parts.

Close study of cost factors also shows that the energy efficiency of a laser beam source only affects a small fraction of the cost-effectiveness of a laser cutting system.

In selecting an appropriate laser, much more depends on what the user intends to cut.

If good cutting quality over the whole range of sheet thicknesses is desired, the CO2 laser is the best beam source, in spite of the lower efficiency level compared with the solid-state laser.

On the other hand, for fusion cutting of up to 4mm thick stainless steel, the solid-state laser is superior.

It is able to cut at a high cutting quality with significantly greater speed and is therefore more cost-effective.

For flame cutting, there is no difference in cutting quality or speed between the two beam sources over the whole range of sheet thicknesses.

To make the most of the high productivity of a solid-state laser, the dynamics of the machine must be able to keep up with the productivity of the laser.

Users should take this into account when purchasing a system with fibre-guided solid-state lasers.

After all, even a 700HP motor does not make a compact car into a Formula 1 car.


Remaining profitable today is a challenge and staying competitive in the future requires solutions that can adapt to your every-changing business needs. The technology built into TRUMPF precision machinery gives fabricators the flexibility to increase the efficiency of their high-quality, close-tolerance part production – in small batches or high volume jobs.

TRUMPF ranks among the world's leading manufacturers of production technology and industrial lasers. Technical solutions for its customers have been the company's focus since 1923. In every technology group TRUMPF machines are designed to minimise unit costs and to provide reliability and a rapid return on investment.

All machines are designed to accept flexible and expandable automation. The choices range from simple productivity gains from features such as automatic laser nozzle exchange through to all the elements necessary for full lights out production.

In the field of CO2 and solid state production lasers the TRUMPF product spectrum is now unparalleled and its experience extends from OEM systems to small hand-manipulation processing stations through to large 5-axis machines. It has competence at any level of power from 2W to 20kW.

The production processes for which TRUMPF lasers are designed are numerous and include welding, cutting, drilling, tube processing, surface treatment, additive manufacturing and component marking.

TRUMPF punching is much more than simply making holes. The TruPunch range of machines provides complete part processing – including forming – and virtually eliminates the need for secondary processing. And in its TruMatic series these benefits are combined with laser cutting; the best of both worlds.

The TRUMPF TruBend press brakes use patented technology to ensure that the bending angle is precise, right from the start and can handle small, complex or single components cost efficiently. Completing the main technology groups are the TRUMPF TruTool range of power and pneumatic portable fabrication equipment.

Under the umbrella of TruServices TRUMPF provides a highly comprehensive range of business services to support its customers. This starts with finance – TRUMPF operates its own bank – and includes full software support both at machine and business level. A wide range of predictive maintenance and service packages are also available as is application and product specific training.

With TRUMPF nothing is left to chance. In every aspect of its business, customers can be assured of quality and exceptionally value for money.

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