Laser cutting can be an efficient and precise fabrication method, but the operating costs can quickly add up. Here are five tips to help reduce laser cutting costs for your Australian manufacturing business.

1. Invest In Energy-Efficient Laser Cutting Equipment

The laser cutting machine you choose significantly impacts the long-term costs. Seek out systems with energy-efficient CO2 lasers, motion systems and chillers to minimise power consumption. Perform cost analyses to determine ideal wattages and cutting speeds to balance throughput with efficiency. Consider adding power monitoring tools to identify wasted energy. Investing in optimised laser cutting equipment will reduce daily operating costs.

2. Leverage Lower-Cost Materials When Possible

Using lower-cost metals and alloys for projects where ultra-high strength or conductivity are not critical can reduce raw material expenses. Mild steel is typically the most economical. Consider aluminium for light-duty parts requiring corrosion resistance. Reusing scrap leftover from previous laser cutting jobs also lowers materials costs. Just ensure your machine can handle the thermal properties of the metals.

3. Optimise Cutting Patterns To Reduce Waste

Careful nesting and layout of cutting patterns minimises waste. Use software that allows you to organise pieces efficiently to reduce the amount of unused material. Cut small components before large ones. Save partial sheets to reuse rather than scrapping them. Quality nesting and planning ensures you get the most out of each sheet, lowering materials costs.

4. Perform Regular Maintenance To Maximise Uptime

Stay on top of maintenance to avoid expensive downtime. Follow scheduled cleanings, component replacements, and inspections diligently. Regularly check key systems like cooling, drives, mirrors and optics. Keep an eye out for problematic debris accumulation and leaks. Don't wait for consumable parts like lenses and air filters to break — replace them proactively. Proper laser cutter maintenance optimizes cutting time and keeps unplanned outages from eating into your profitability.

5. Train Employees On Cost-Saving Strategies

Educate laser operators on ways to reduce costs like optimising cut paths, configuring appropriate settings, and reporting issues immediately. Emphasise the impact of focusing on efficiency. Engage staff by tracking cost savings goals and statistics. Proper training ensures employees actively contribute to lowering expenses in your shop's day-to-day laser cutting operations.

By investing in efficient equipment, minimising waste, keeping machines running and training staff, Australian manufacturers can keep laser cutting costs under control. Assess all aspects of your operations to identify areas for reducing spending. With these cost-saving steps, your business can gain a competitive edge.

Contact a local company to learn more about laser cutting.