In recent years, laser cutting machine is becoming hotter and hotter, because it has high efficiency in material processing and also affordable in price. At the same time, plasma cutting machines also come into the light. Some professional designers can choose the correct machine according to their needs. But for most people, especially for cutting machine beginners, this can be difficult in front of the configuration numbers. So here today, Disen will help and discuss how to choose the correct machine for your production and design.
When the laser cutting machine works, the laser beam concentrates to a light spot, which can be narrowed down to 0.1mm. The light spot has great power to heat the materials in high temperatures to melt and evaporate to “drill” a hole. With the movement of the laser beam, the holes can be arranged to line and form to narrow seams, which complete the cutting of the materials.
Usually, laser cutting machines can be classified as fiber laser cutting machines and CO2 laser cutting machines. As we can read through their names, the fiber laser cutting machine uses a laser beam, while the latter one applies CO2 gas. But both of them are to heat to evaporate the materials.
Laser cutting machine has a broad range of applications. For big companies, laser cutting machines can help to design car doors due to the machines’ high precision and clear edge. Also, many home appliances manufacturers prefer laser cutting machines to make cupboards or decoration doors. In addition, some designers like to order laser cutting machines to DIY their boards or logo or small stuff, and you can find many gorgeous patterns on Pinterest or Instagram.
What is Plasma Cutting Machine?
Plasma is used to heated the gas to a very high temperature and is highly ionized. It transfers the arc power to the workpiece and the high heat melts the workpiece but is blown off, then forms a working state of plasma arc cutting, and uses the momentum of the high-speed plasma to remove the molten metal. In this way, plasma cutting machines can realize materials’ incision.
Generally speaking, equipped with a different gas, plasma cutting machine is an expert for cutting thick nonferrous metal boards for industrial application, like stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and titanium... while such thick boards are hard to deal with for fiber laser cutting machine.
Plasma cutting machines can install oxygen, nitrogen, argon gas, and hydrogen to realize high-efficiency cutting. Also, these gases can be mixed to achieve different cutting purposes. Considering the thickness of the material, cutting speed, and cost, different manufacturers choose different gases.
A laser cutting machine is better at cutting details. It is equipped with high precision laser head and control system, which can cut or engrave intricate pattern details or cut small shapes. A plasma cutting machine, however, is not good at processing such exquisite art. It is designed to deal with a thick metal board in simple cut owing to the powerful beam head. A plasma cutting machine can cut thicknesses of up to 1.5 inches. While laser cutting machines can only cut 0.5-inch aluminum, 0.75-inch stainless steel board, and 1-inch steel materials.
In this way, laser cutting machine is often used as an artistic design machine like advertising board, logo cutting, and engraving. And plasma cutting machine is a pop star in industrial cutting. Therefore, a laser cutting machine is more expensive.
Also, some customers want to have an arc in the cutting seam, in this way plasma cutting machine is better than a laser cutting machine. But if you need a rectangular cutting edge, a laser cutting machine can meet your needs.
A plasma cutting machine uses electrically conductive gas to cut instead of a beam of optic light, so it can only deal with materials that conduct electricity, like steel, carbon steel, iron, aluminum, titanium, and so on. However, a laser cutting machine uses a laser beam to melt or heat the materials, so it can also cut or engrave non-metal materials like wood, rubber, glass, PVC, acrylic, etc.
But lasers cannot cut highly reflective materials like copper, so plasma cutting may be the best option for materials like this. However, plasma can cut through any conductive metal, regardless of the surface.
As mentioned before, a laser cutting machine is the best choice for pattern design. It is because the laser has a tighter tolerance of just .002 inches, making it ideal for precision cutting or parts that have intricate notching. For this point, plasma cannot cut materials with such precision, this is why it is just for industrial or construction material cutting.
Both laser and plasma cutting machines we manufacture use CNC (Computer Numerical Control) to control the machines. This provides greater accuracy and faster production.
If you are an industrial equipment manufacturer, which requires thick board cutting and doesn’t need high precision, a plasma cutting machine is your best choice.
Many fiber laser cutting machines with high power of 10000w can also cut thick board, but it is far more expensive than plasma cutting machines. So if precision is not strictly required, a plasma machine is the best (it is also cheap).
Here is another thing you need to consider is the reflectivity of your material. Metals like aluminum, iron, steel, titanium... are in high reflectivity, which means, if you use a fiber laser cutting machine, the efficiency can not be that good as you imagine. A fiber laser cutting machine can cut metal indeed, but only to thin metal board. However, fiber laser tends to be reflected, while plasma uses gas that is simpler to be absorbed by the metal. So for a thick metal board, plasma is better.
On the contrary, if you just plan to cut thin metal boards with high precision, there is no doubt you need to buy a fiber laser cutting machine.
You may wonder about the CO2 laser cutting machine. CO2 laser cutting machine is only designed for cutting non-metal materials like corrugated paper, cloth, rubber, plexiglass, PVC, etc. If you need to cut non-metal materials, a CO2 cutting machine is the only machine you can use.
Let divide the price into two parts: the price of purchase and the price of after-sales.
For the first section, a plasma cutting machine is much cheaper than a laser cutting machine. It will help you to save much budget if you own a factory (which means you may need to bulk buying the machine). But if you just need a machine at home or in a studio to cut metals, a fiber laser cutting machine will be better. Though expensive, it has higher precision, and this is the most important for designers to visualize their ideas. Compared to fibers, the CO2 laser cutting machine is much cheaper. Many wood cutting artists choose this one and it can deal with many non-metal materials.
Though plasma cutting machine is cheaper, it is the king in power consumption. For example, if a plasma machine can cut thickness from 1mm to 20mm, the power consumption can be up to 50kw/h. For the fiber laser cutting machine, this working efficiency can only consume 13kw/h. So the processing cost of a plasma cutting machine is much more expensive than a laser cutting machine.
So here we sincerely suggest: if you need to run the machine often, the laser cutting machine is more economic than the plasma, while if you just need to run it sometimes, plasma will be better.
With the development of cutting machines and techniques, more and more types of cutting machines can be chosen to meet our needs. At the same time, it requires us to know more about the whole industry and machine to choose the best one.
To sum up, the material is the first thing before we place an order. If non-metal materials, the CO2 cutting machine can never be wrong. If you need to cut think metal plates, a fiber laser cutting machine is the best. But if thick metal board, you need to estimate the frequency of utilization and calculate the cost and profit to decide which one is better for you.
If you still have any questions, please feel free to leave your message and our engineer will give you a reply as soon as possible.
* Owing to the real-time updating of products and technologies, the datas and product pictures on the site are for reference only