A Comparison of Plasma and Laser Cutting Machine

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With the development and increased use of CNC cutting machine, we have seen increasing high demand for its cutting precision and cutting speed. Currently, the laser cutting machine basically suits the client's demand in terms of precision and speed. The laser and plasma cutting machine are similar in basic mechanism, but they are different in essence.

Comparison of Basic Principles
As one of new thermal cutting equipment, the plasma cutter's basic principle is that it makes use of the heat generated by high temperature plasma arc to partially (locally) melt the workpiece and then the molten metal will be removed from the bottom of the cut by the momentum of the high-velocity plasma arc. However, the basic mechanism of laser cutter is another thing. Laser cutter utilizes high power density laser beam to focus on the surface of materials which will be heated to several thousands to tens of thousands of degrees in very short time. This ultra-high temperature will enable the material to melt or gasify. At this moment, the molten material or other waste material will be blown away from the cut zone by the high pressure gas, thus the purpose of cutting material is achieved.

Comparison of Features and Advantages
Plasma Cutter

Generally speaking, the cutting gas adopted by plasma cutter exerts a visible influence on the cutting quality and speed as well as cutting characteristics of plasma arc. (The cutting gas is conducting medium of plasma arc and it is also employed to transport the heat to the workpiece. Meanwhile, the molten metal will be ejected from the cut.) Its frequently-use cutting gas is argon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, air, water vapor, and some hybrid gas. This cutter is widely used in all works of life like automobile, locomotive, pressure vessel, chemical machinery, general machinery, engineering machinery, steel structure, and many more. It not only can find its wide range of applications, but also comes with a low operating cost. (The plasma cutter is much cheaper than laser cutter.)

Laser Cutter
To sum up, the laser cutter has a wealth of features and advantages which are listed below.
1. Laser cutting is non-contact process without leaving behind any scratch. This is because it uses laser beam instead of traditional cutter.
2. This machine features fast cutting speed, high cutting accuracy (≤ 0.2mm), as well as flat and smooth cut zone. In most case, the cut components will be ready for service immediately after cutting without any subsequent processing.
3. The narrow heat affected zone leads to less material distortion as well as narrow kerf width (typically 0.1mm~ 0.3mm).
4. There is no mechanical stress on the kerf, so no burrs will be produced on the sheared edges of the material.
5. The laser cutting machine offers high cutting precision and good repeatability. There is no harm to the surface of material.
6. This CNC machine is capable of producing according to any floor plan. It can cut the complete plate with large area.
7. This cutter is economical and time-saving.