Skip to content

FAQ: What is the lifetime of Kern's laser sources?

  KT laser sourceThe CO2 lasers used on Kern’s laser equipment are manufactured by our sister company, Kern Technologies. Kern Technologies’ goal is to advance CO2 laser technology by manufacturing the highest quality and most dependable CO2 laser on the market. Our lasers are engineered for a long lifetime and include the following key features:

  • A large power margin over the rated power which allows the laser output power to stay above the warranted power beyond the warranty end date.
  • All electronics are overbuilt to prevent electrical overloads and allow the components to run cool and below their thermal damage rating.
  • A large gas reservoir was incorporated into the laser gas envelope to counter the loss of oxygen to oxidation process and extend the lifetime of the laser gas. This ensures when the carbon dioxide dissociates into carbon monoxide and oxygen, that there is still oxygen available for recombining back to the carbon dioxide needed to generate the laser output power.
  • Before assembly the laser cavity goes through a cleaning process that includes an extremely effective ultrasonic cleaning of all subcomponents, followed by a proprietary plasma surface treatment and passivation of the bare metal electrode parts. This process removes all impurities, contaminants, including hydrocarbons from the active internal surface before the cavity is sealed with the high purity carbon dioxide gas mix. The purity of the gas in the high-vacuum sealed cavity ensures that the laser will have an extended lifetime.
  • All optical components are sourced with the highest quality and a sustainable coating to minimize UV breakdown for maximum operational lifetime.

KT laser sources


The lifetime of every laser varies and is dependent on many factors including laser run time, environment, and regular maintenance. The lack of chiller and purge maintenance is the most common cause of premature laser failure. In general, the following statements can be said about a KT laser.

Operational Life

  • The operational lifetime of a KT laser is at least 10,000 run-hours, with actual lifetime exceeding 20,000 run-hours demonstrated in Kern’s Laser Lifetime Testing Room and forecasted lifetime exceeding 30,000 run-hours.
  • Typical operational run life is 4 to 6+ years under normal operational use with demonstrated laser lifetimes exceeding 10 years in the field.
  • Laser models introduced in 2012 and 2013 continue to be operated regularly even today.
  • Note that despite the passivation of the active metal surface inside the laser cavity, there is an inevitable loss of a tiny percentage of the oxygen needed to sustain the CO2 gas level in the laser. This means there will be a very gradual drop in laser output power over a very long time, perhaps a few percent loss every few thousand hours of laser operation. This is normal and the reason why a CO2 gas laser has a finite lifetime. Laser repair and replacement should be factored into your operating cost.
  • The KT200 series of Kern lasers has exhibited a laser power drop of 1-2 watts per 1000 hours of full power, continuous run time on the KT lifetime lasers.

Shelf Life

  • This is dependent on the environment of laser storage. A Laser to be stored for significant time should be stored in a climate-controlled room with low humidity for the longest lasting shelf life.
  • A shelf life of at least 5 years and considerably longer, if stored properly is realistic.
  • The water line must be completely blown out when preparing the laser for short or long-term storage. Bacteria growth and corrosion from coolant sitting in the coolant line may cause a blockage and other undesirable effects.
  • The laser output hole must be kept covered during storage and extended laser-off time to prevent dust and other contaminants from entering the laser enclosure, that may possibly compromise the optics and the beam path inside.

Test Your Material

See And Feel The Precision Of Kern Lasers. Let's Process Your Material.


In the event of a laser issue, the Advanced Replacement Program ensures the customer is up and running quickly. In many cases we can ship out a laser the same day an issue is reported. A laser of 200 watts or less can even be shipped UPS Next Day. Having our own laser source affords our customers maximum uptime in the event of a source failure.

No matter what the product is, from dishwasher to laser – every single component integrated into any product comes with a mean-time-before-failure; and however improbable, a laser can fail at any time for a variety of unforeseen reasons. These include cavity vacuum leaks, ruptured optics, RF/electronics failures and more. In this event, we will do everything we can to have our customers up and running again as soon as possible.

Kern has over 1,000 CO2 laser units in the field, with hundreds of customers running them smoothly every day. If you speak with any of our customers, they will speak to the high-quality standard Kern products are built to and applaud our focus on customer service.

Ready to learn more?

Request a 30 minute appointment with a friendly Kern laser expert.