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A Guide To Laser Cutter Water Chillers

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A Guide To Laser Cutter Water Chillers

From automotive to aerospace, and even in the art world, laser cutters are used to create intricate designs and precise cuts on a variety of materials.

However, the efficiency and longevity of these incredible machines heavily depend on effective temperature control.

This is where industrial water chillers come into play, offering a more robust solution than ambient temperature water cooling to manage the heat generated during the laser cutting process.

Laser machine water chillers are essential for anyone using their laser frequently or for extended periods of time.

Why Use Dedicated Water Chillers For Laser Cutters?

A picture of the front a laser cutter water chiller unit

In many sectors outside of laser cutters and laser engravers, industrial water chillers are used to maintain consistent cooling to a range of machinery such as plastic moulding equipment.

From food production to pharmaceutical production, temperature is key to ensure consistent results. Enter the industrial water chiller.

If you use your laser cutter regularly or for extended periods of time, there’s a good chance you’ll require more than the ambient temperature water cooling system supplied as standard with our range of CO2 laser cutters.

Here’s why:

Temperature Regulation

Laser cutters operate by focusing a high-intensity beam of light onto a material (learn more about how laser cutters work here), generating substantial heat in the process.

Our range of CO2 laser engraving and cutting machines each utilise a water cooled glass laser tube which requires adequate temperature regulation in order to operate effectively and reliably.

During the generation of the laser beam, heat is generated in the glass tube. Water chillers are designed to actively control this heat, thereby maintaining an optimal operating temperature.

Optimal operating temperatures for the HPC range of laser cutters and laser engravers is from 18 degrees, up to a maximum of 25 degrees C.

Unlike circulating unregulated water in a bucket or water tank, circulating chilled water via a chiller through the laser cutter’s cooling system ensures a consistent water temperature (between 18-23 degrees), increasing performance and preventing overheating over prolonged periods of use.

Protecting The Laser Tube & Components

An image of a laser tube burning through metal

A CO2 laser tube can be fatally damaged if operated with cooling water above 25 degrees C.

Water chillers protect the tube by maintaining a stable temperature, extending their lifespan, ensuring the laser cutter operates at peak efficiency and saving you money.

Benefits of Using Water Chillers With Your Laser Cutter

There are a range of benefits of using a standalone chiller system with your laser cutter, here are some of them:

Improved Performance & Efficiency

Consistent temperature control provided by water chillers enhances the performance and efficiency of laser cutters.

Stable operating temperatures ensure the laser beam remains focused and precise, resulting in higher-quality cuts. Additionally, by self-regulating the water temperature, water chillers reduce downtime, allowing for continuous operation and increased productivity.

Cost Savings

A picture of British money on a table

Investing in a water chiller can lead to significant cost savings over time. Much like how fume extractors can help reduce maintenance, water chillers also help prevent unnecessary damage from overheating.

By protecting the laser cutter from heat-related damage, water chillers reduce the need for frequent maintenance and part replacements (mainly laser tubes).

Furthermore, modern water chillers are designed to be energy efficient, which can lower operational costs by reducing electricity consumption.

Increased Quality Of Cuts (Quality Standards)

Maintaining a consistent temperature is crucial for achieving high-quality output in laser cutting.

Temperature fluctuations can cause variations in cut quality, leading to defects and material wastage.

Water chillers ensure that the laser cutter operates under optimal conditions, producing uniform and precise cuts, and minimising the risk of material damage.

Selecting The Right Water Chiller

Laser cutters come in a range of shapes and sizes,  so it’s critical to ensure the water chiller you choose is suitable for the machine you have and can keep up with the machine’s cooling requirements.

Key Factors To Consider

Choosing the right water chiller for your laser cutter involves several key considerations:

  • Cooling Capacity: Ensure that the chiller has sufficient cooling capacity to handle the heat load generated by your laser cutter.
  • Compatibility: The chiller should be compatible with the specifications of your laser cutter, including water flow rate and pressure requirements. If the rate of water isn’t sufficient, cooling will be affected.
  • Energy Efficiency: Look for chillers that offer high energy efficiency to minimise operational costs and reduce environmental impact.

The HPC range of CO2 laser cutters up to 150W power work well with the CW5200 water chiller shown below. Alternatively, you can browse our full range of laser water chillers here.

Industrial Water Chiller CW5200

This unit not only protects your laser tube but also ensures your beam remains accurate by maintaining optimal operating temperatures.

Key Features:

  • Active Cooling: The CW5200 uses refrigerant gases to actively cool the recirculating water, providing efficient and reliable temperature control.
  • Capacity: With a 6-litre capacity, it should be filled just above the cooling coils for optimal performance.
  • Temperature Control Accuracy: Pre-set to maintain water at a constant 18 degrees Celsius. Alarm functions are always active, if the temperature exceeds 25 degrees, the unit will alert you with an alarm sound.
  • Flow Monitoring: The unit includes its own pump, eliminating the need for an external pump. It monitors the water flow rate and will alert you with a sound and a red alarm light if the flow rate is too low, indicating potential issues like kinks or blockages in the tubing.
  • Maintenance: If water quality degrades, indicated by murkiness, it should be replaced to maintain optimal performance.

The CW5200 chiller unit is available from UK stock and typically delivered via courier within 2 to 3 working days of your order.

However, if you’re not sure what your requirements are, please feel free to get in touch with the team at HPC so one of ours experts can help guide you towards the correct model.

You can call the team Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on +44 (0) 1422 310800.

Installation & Maintenance

An image showing the connections on the back of a typical laser cutter water chiller

Proper installation of a water chiller is crucial for optimal performance. Follow these guidelines to ensure a successful setup:

  • Placement: Install the chiller in a well-ventilated area to prevent overheating.
  • Connections: Ensure all hoses and connections (mainly the water inlet on the machine itself) are secure and free from leaks and kinks.
  • Power Supply: Verify that the chiller is connected to a stable power source.

Maintenance Tips

Some maintenance is essential to keep your laser water chiller in top condition:

  • Clean Filters: Periodically clean or replace filters to ensure efficient operation.
  • Check Water Levels: Regularly check and replenish water levels to prevent the system from running dry. It’s also important to replace the water if it becomes dirty/murky. Water quality is key for consistent flow and temperature regulation.
  • Use An Antifreeze: It’s important o use a chiller-compatible antifreeze in the colder months if there is a risk the cooling water might freeze. HPC Laser offer an excellent compatible antifreeze which also inhibits bacterial growth in the water.
  • Inspect Components: Routinely inspect hoses, connections, and other components for signs of wear or damage.

Summing It All Up

Water chillers play an essential role in the efficient and reliable operation of laser cutters.

By regulating temperature, protecting critical components, and ensuring consistent performance, water chillers contribute to improved cut quality, reduced downtime, and significant cost savings.

As laser cutting technology continues to advance, the importance of effective cooling solutions like water chillers will only grow, making them a worthwhile investment for any business relying on precision laser cutting.

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