Plasma Cutting vs Laser Cutting: Practical Advice to Make the Right Choice

The use of plasma cutting and laser cutting may be well known but confusion can still exist around the best circumstances to use each. This means, especially with laser cutting being a more expensive process, manufacturing budget could potentially be wasted.

The two different technologies – plasma cutting using a plasma arc and laser cutting focusing a laser through a lens – have very different ideal uses.

Knowing the difference in how these methods are best applied could save time and money for a project.

Plasma Cutting vs Laser Cutting: A Simple Checklist

A simple principle involving balancing the speed, cost, plate thickness and precision of the cutting needed will reveal the ideal solution for every end product:

Speed: Laser Cutting is a faster process while plasma cutting cannot work at the same speeds.

Cost: However laser cutting is more expensive making plasma cutting more cost-efficient.

Precision: Laser cutting is designed for fine engineering such as shaping a logo or crest on a product of thinner material.

Plate size: A factor often misunderstood, the speed and precision benefits of laser cutting begin to fall away when a plate thickness above 8mm is used.The most important consideration to take into account when choosing between plasma cutting and laser cutting?

Conor Ward of Steelworx – a leading subscontractor supplier of high definition plasma cutting to UK and Ireland manufacturers – explains: “The cost of metal cutting can easily be increased without good reason by overestimating the benefits of laser cutting above 8mm plate thickness.

“The efficiency and cost advantages really begin to fall away after this point. We’ve had many customers who’ve been delighted with the price, speed and all-round performance of expertly-executed plasma cutting at 8mm plate size and above.

“In fact, in many instances we’ve seen that customers who have used laser cutting for their product in the past then moved to high definition plasma cutting were surprised by the quality and lower cost in comparison to laser cutting.

“The best advice I can give is to investigate both methods fully to ensure budget isn’t being wasted.”

Plasma Cutting vs Laser Cutting: Where to Find Further Information

A professional metal cutting company will be glad to discuss how their services can be applied to a specific need.

For example, Steelworx in-house engineer Peter Nicholl welcomes calls from manufacturers who want to assess the use of high definition plasma cutting for their projects.

Why Steelworx? Continuous investment in training and machinery makes Steelworx one of the UK and Ireland’s leading plasma cutting sub-contracting companies, delivering deliver high quality precision products while minimising costs at reduced turnaround times. We’ll be proud to show you why we’re trusted by leading manufacturers.

July 22, 2020