How to Select the Best Gas Delivery System for Your Laser Cutter

20 September 2016
 Categories: , Blog

Many gas delivery systems, such as pressurised cylinders and portable liquid tanks, exist on the market. However, not all delivery systems will be suitable for your needs. This article discusses some of the considerations that will help you to select the most appropriate gas delivery system when you acquire a laser cutter for your fabrication shop.

How Much Gas is Consumed

The rate at which you expect to consume the assist gas should help you to determine which type of delivery system would be appropriate for your operations. For instance, it would be unnecessary for you to buy a bulk cryogenic system that can contain more than 20,000 cubic feet of gas if you will only use the laser cutter occasionally. A pressurised cylinder may be the most appropriate for you because it contains moderate amounts of gas, such as 300 cubic feet, that are sufficient for the occasional user.

Unit Cost of Gas

Pressurised cylinders may be the most expensive when you consider the unit cost of each cubic foot of gas contained in each of the delivery systems available. Portable liquid tanks contain gas that is less expensive than what is in cylinders. Bulk cryogenic liquid tanks are least expensive when you break down the unit cost of each cubic foot of gas.

Your budget may dictate which delivery system you can afford at the time when you are purchasing the CNC laser cutter. However, your anticipated gas consumption patterns should also guide your choice of a delivery system so that you don't buy a disproportionate volume of gas when compared to your monthly needs.

Opportunities for Waste

Each gas delivery system is prone to some wastage of assist gas. For instance, liquid tanks usually vent gas when the system remains unused for a long period of time, such as over the weekend. This is because the liquid will gain some heat as the liquid particles vibrate within the tank. The liquid will cause pressure to build up within the tank as segments convert to gas form after heating up. That gas will then be lost through the pressure-relief valve that prevents pressure from building up to dangerous levels. Thus, liquid tanks are ideal for operations where there is limited downtime.

Some waste also takes place in pressurised cylinders. This is because not all the gas will be used during cutting operations. The reduction of the gas inside the cylinder causes the pressure to drop so much that a small fraction of the gas will remain unused. Operations where cylinders are changed frequently incur the largest losses. The cylinders should therefore be used if you will not need to change cylinders frequently.

Use the information above to select the gas delivery system that suits your needs. You can also get further guidance from the supplier of your CNC laser cutting equipment.