China developed its first 20,000-watt fiber laser, which will help reduce the cost of such machines by 40 percent, the developer announced Tuesday.
Yan Dapeng, with the Fourth Research Institute of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., said the breakthrough has ended China's dependence on foreign technology, adding that an imported machine of this kind costs more than 6 million yuan (871,000 U.S. dollars).
He said the fiber laser is being assembled and is expected to be put into use by 2018.
As the third generation laser product following carbon dioxide and semi-conductor lasers, fiber laser has been applied to shipbuilding, aircraft and auto manufacturing, aerospace and 3D printing. Having one tenth the size of a traditional carbon dioxide laser, a fiber laser only uses one fifth of the power of its predecessor and is environmentally friendly.
According to Yan, China has acquired technology to develop fiber lasers higher than 20,000 watt and may produce them if there is demand.
"The more power a laser has, the more it costs. So developing higher-power fiber lasers or not will be based on market demand," he said.
The institute is China's top fiber laser producer, accounting for over 40 percent of the nation's market share. Its products have been exported to 20 countries and regions.