7 Tips for Buying a Laser Engraver

1. Focus on the core application: laser engraving or laser cutting
It’s easy to be drawn to how many other applications a machine can perform. A good generalist is a compromise machine in almost every way. Just because a machine can cut and engrave doesn’t mean it can do both functions well. A purpose-designed machine will always perform the core application better, so it’s no surprise that laser cutters cut better than laser engravers, and vice versa.

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2. Throughput is almost always the key to business success.
Even if your business volume is low right now, production speed is critical. Higher throughput will provide the opportunity to reduce selling prices while increasing your profits and you can also deliver faster. These three elements are the keys to being competitive, winning and growing your laser engraving business.

3. Carefully consider the true cost of ownership, as this can have a huge impact on profit erosion.
No one is going to buy a laser engraver for a year and throw it away. For most people, it’s a long-term investment, but most buyers focus primarily on the purchase price. The actual cost of a machine should be judged by its cost of ownership over its entire working life, which is about 10 years for a good machine. Often, the cost of ownership of an inexpensive machine is much higher due to replacement parts, excessive maintenance, and lower output quality/productivity.

4. Think technology first, brand second.
We often see rows of identical laser engravers installed throughout the workshop, with buyers making purchases based on ”we always by brand X”. If a brand can provide the right machine for the job, there are certainly many advantages to brand loyalty, however, the performance of the technology should be a bigger priority

If we all insisted on only buying brands, we would all be using Nokia or Motorola phones today. Often newer and sometimes smaller companies provide innovations simply because they have to do it in order to enter the market or even survive for. Going beyond the first page of Google can save you a fortune.

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5. Buy from a reputable, reputable supplier with application knowledge and the kits they sell.
You would expect most machinery suppliers to know what they sell, but this should never be taken for granted. Before making a purchase, push salespeople to test their knowledge of the product, its features, and especially their knowledge of the app. Don’t settle for preset demos tried/tested by manufacturers

If salespeople don’t know your application, how can they recommend the right system configuration to you? Remember that many salespeople will try to sell you what they want to sell, not what you should buy. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for us to see companies use the wrong tools at work because they’re misinformed.

6. Look carefully at the warranty and support guarantee
Despite the hype, especially on the Internet, the only guarantee you can rely on is that nothing lasts forever: all machines will fail at some point. The more successful you are, the harder your laser engraver is to work and the more likely it is to fail. If you’re lucky enough to be successful, it’s never a good time to take your machine down

In the event of a failure, you want to know how quickly it will be repaired and what the total cost will be, so look carefully at the fine print of your system’s warranty and more closely at your vendor’s support resources. If you can, talk to a support technician or two, as well as sales, as these types of people often have very different views on the same product.

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7. Remember that the core foundation of good system design is a careful balance of functionality, affordability, and reliability.
By default, more powerful systems are generally less affordable and may actually be less reliable. By default, more affordable systems have fewer features and may also be less reliable. Logically, an average machine would be a happy medium for all of these things, but an average machine would most likely only provide no more than average results

Therefore, it is critical to ”buy right” and choose a system that can meet today’s needs and, to a certain extent, some of the future.

This consideration is not only related to laser power, laser marking speed, etc., but also to software functionality. For example, today you may need to mark text and logos, but tomorrow you may need to laser mark barcodes.

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