These days the CNC machines are found in almost all kinds of industries, starting from a small scale industry to giant manufacturing organizations. You won’t find any facet of the manufacturing that is not affected by the automated CNC machine center. Today, there are many industries who are utilizing a variety of CNC machines, such as CNC router machine, CNC milling machine and so on.
However, CNC plasma cutting machine and CNC laser cutting machines are the two extensively used by the industries today. But which one is more powerful and better cutting machine – a plasma cutting machine or laser cutting machine?
CNC Plasma Cutting Machine:
Whenever you compare a plasma cutting machine to a laser cutting machine, it is must that you are referring to a high definition plasma cutting machine, not an air-plasma cutting machine. A plasma cutting machine may help manufacturer to save money and time. Plasma cutting machine provide precision and accuracy in cutting material.
Plasma cutting process: The plasma cutter torch has a high velocity ionized gas that conducts electricity, which is used to heat the work piece and at the end melts the material. The arc and gas have their own purpose, the arc melts the material with its heat and gas blows the molten material away from the piece and cut the material. With the help of force of the plasma, you can easily get a sharp cut with a minor or no slag. Plasma cutting machines often come into a variety of types such as plasma torches, plasma cutters and so on.
CNC Laser Cutting Machines:
It is much like a plasma cutting machine and even performs the same way. The only difference is that it uses laser technology to cut materials, and is used in the industrial manufacturing applications. It brings a whole host of benefits like low cutting noise, less production cost per piece, no tooling costs and more. They can be used for cutting wood, plastic and metal. Laser cutting machine is efficient to cut metal easily up to 3/16” thickness. They are most suitable to cut any complicated bigger or smaller industrial parts from sheet metal with smooth finish and accuracy.
Apart from these, the major differences between plasma cutting machine and laser cutting machine can be described in terms of the follow aspects:
- Capital Equipment Cost: – when it comes to capital costs, plasma cutting machine wins the battle as the capital equipment costs is lower than that of the laser cutting machine. A laser cutting machine required about $300,000 initial capital cost as compared to a plasma cutting machine, which required only $120,000.
- Maintenance Costs: – A laser cutting machine is more expensive than a plasma cutting machine in terms of maintenance costs. For example, CO2 laser cutting machine that requires a skilled technician for maintenance. On the other hand, a plasma cutting machine requires only shop maintenance to welding equipment, which automatically reduces the overall maintenance costs.
- Cutting Accuracy: – Because of the narrow kerf width and small heat affected zone, a laser cutting machine easily beats a plasma cutting machine when it comes to the cutting accuracy. However, both the cutting machines have same quality when they are used for a steel material.
- Cutting Speed: – In terms of cutting speed, a plasma cutting machine is faster than a laser cutting machine over 3/16” thick metals. But a laser cutting machine is faster than plasma cutting machine up to 3/16” thick metal. So both of them have their capabilities when it comes to the speed of cutting the material.
- Safety Precautions: – In terms of safety, a laser beam can be dangerous for both the eyes and skin. Failure to follow the appropriate safety precautions and steps may seriously injure or damage the eye and skin of the operator. On the other hand, in plasma cutting machine, you must have to use welding goggle and face shield in order to prevent any security hazards. So for the safety purpose, you may have to be more careful when using any of the CNC machines.
- Understanding: – In the laser cutting process, an operator needs to go through a lengthy training about the usage of the laser beam and other aspects of the laser cutting machine. In contrast with the laser cutting machines, a plasma cutting machine operator doesn’t have to go through the long training sessions as it is quite easy to use the machine.
Well, both of the machines have their own pros and cons. However, if you want more accuracy, then CNC laser cutting machine is all you want. But if you want to save costs and learning time, then plasma cutting machine is a better choice…!
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