View Full Version : Fiber laser source, SPI or IPG?

Axel Neldner
05-09-2014, 6:24 AM
Hello to all the SawmillCreekers,

my name is Axel, I am from Berlin, Germany. As this is my very first post i want to say thank you first of all for all the experience and knowledge provided by the members of this forum, highly appreciated!

I am planning on buying a 20 watt galvo fiber laser markingsystem, mostly for annealing stainless steel and marking anodized aluminum and coated metals (knives and tools, promotional gifts, etc.).

SPI and IPG are the two most commonly used fiber laser sources in the systems i had a look at, with the main difference that most IPG lasers seem to have a fixed puls width and limited frequency range whereas SPIs MOPA architecture and PulseTune technology allowing a greater flexibility with preset waveforms from 3-500 ns pulse width and up to 1MHz repetition rate. Electrox for example is offering quite a range of solutions with the Scorpion Rapide.

So i am very interested if anyone can share some real life experience with these lasers and point out if the wider choice of parameters is a true benefit, or just useful for very special applications like marking heat-sensitive plastics or black marking clear anodized aluminum.

Thank you very much and have a great day!

Mike Null
05-09-2014, 8:24 AM
Guten tag, Axel

Welcome to SMC. We have a broad and varied group here and I'm sure you'll get some knowledgeable answers.

Axel Neldner
05-09-2014, 8:56 AM
Hello Mike,

thank you for your welcome. I have been following your forum for quite a while now, it is in deed one of the best places i found so far.
Hope i will be able to contribute some knowledge in the future as my experience grows!

All the best from Berlin

Dan Hintz
05-10-2014, 9:19 AM

Your mileage may vary, but I'll put it this way... I have been spec'ing out a fiber laser for a galvo system (just haven't pulled the trigger yet on the purchase), and the SPI is what I'm likely going to choose. The IPG is a good buy, but it tends more towards hogging out material rather than having the options of SPI (both hogging and fine work ).

Axel Neldner
05-10-2014, 10:08 AM
Hi Dan,

thanks for your reply. I do have a tendency towards the SPIs aswell, the more i read about them the more interesting they get in comparison to a classic q-switched fiber. Especially the new EP series. I read a few of your threads and know your application would be engraving rather than marking, so i guess the s-type would be your choice. I have got a great PDF from the SPI guys covering the whole redENERGY G4 range. Tell me if you are interested, i'll email it to you.

Best regards

matthew knott
05-10-2014, 12:15 PM
There's not an easy answer to this, I'm in the fortunate position to have a quite a few SPI lasers including the new G4 and also a IPG plus another Asian make, they all have pro/cons. Ideally the SPI would just match the IPG but have extra features and therefore make it a no-brainer but in my experience this is not really the case. For extremely sensitive plastics and materials the SPI wins hands down, but jobshop marking of these is rare. For general marking, say black marking on stainless and aluminium and removing anodised then the ease and lack of adjustment of the IPG is my choice, the extended frequency range on the SPI and the more expensive IPG's can be useful for producing annealed marks on surgical items. It really depends what you want to do with it, and in most cases you wont know till the job comes in.

Axel Neldner
05-11-2014, 4:04 AM
Hi Matthew,

thank you very much for your input. As a seller for swissarmy and cooking-knives one of the main applications for me would be annealing of polished stainless steel. The quality of the mark ist essential in regards of micro-damage to the surface as the knives will be used in a demanding professional enviroment. So the benefits of higher frequencies as you mentioned with marking of surgical steel which has to withstand sterilisation and the improved corrosion resistance compared to lower frequency marks are an important factor for my choice.

Best regards