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FAQ: What utilities do I need in place for my laser system?

If you are asking this question, it might mean you are close to purchasing or receiving your new laser system. Just like any piece of industrial machinery there are a few items that need to be in place before the laser machines can be fully installed. It is important to understand what these items are to determine how much preparation might be required before the arrival of the laser system. A complete per-arrival checklist can be provided by your sales associate. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions so we can ensure your building is ready for installation day.

Electrical Service

Most of Kern’s laser systems are available in a variety of electrical configurations. Electrical requirements are displayed on each components system ID label. Please note there might be unique requirements for the laser system, chiller, and blowers. Other external components like fume extractors may also require their own dedicated electrical service.

The electrical panel will need to be hardwired by a certified electrician. The electrician will also provide the correct gauge wire to the panel. We strongly recommend that a breaker for each component be installed near the laser system. This way power can quickly be shut off to certain components for maintenance operation and troubleshooting.

UL Electrical Panel for laser cutter and engraver
chiller laser fluids

Chiller Fluids

Chiller fluids are required to keep the laser source, and in some cases, other key components running cool and efficiently. Most laser machines require a special mix ratio of distilled water and OptiShield Plus. Distilled water is not included with the laser system and must be sourced by the customer. The exact amount of distilled water needed depends on the chiller model and can be determined by asking for sales associate. There will be a container of OptiShield plus (or similar) shipped with the laser system for the initial chiller filling.

Chiller fluids should be changed regularly and are available on

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Air & Gas

An assist gas is required on Kern’s laser cutters, which is injected through the laser nozzle to ensure optimal cutting and engravings results. The assist gas also creates a positive pressure out of the nozzle so fumes and small debris are less likely to enter the beam path. The material you are cutting will determine which type of assist gas is required. Organic materials require an airline supplying a minimum of 90 PSI CDA (clean dry air). 

If you are cutting metal an assist gas such as oxygen or nitrogen will be required. Standalone tanks or nitrogen generators are the two most common supplies.

Most machines also require a purge gas which is a low amount of CDA or nitrogen. Kern also offers a purge gas filter setup to ensure the purge gas is correctly filtered.

purge gas filter
Laser ducting vacuum

Exhaust Ducting

Exhaust blowers are provided with each machine to remove fumes and smoke created during laser processing. Kern also includes the hose and connecting hardware between the laser system and the blowers. It is the customer’s responsibility to install a duct connecting to the blower output fitting.

An optional fume extractor can be used in place of blowers, which filters the dirty air and recycles it back into the room. If you are cutting metal on your laser system a spark arrestor should also be installed in line between the laser system and fume extractor.

Operating Environment

As is the case with most machinery, a temperature-controlled working environment is recommended. However, we realize this is not always possible. If your laser system will be setup in a hot and/or humid environment, please contact Kern’s technical support team to discuss how we can setup the laser system to work a bit more effectively in this environment.

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