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Plasma Advantages

Posted in CNC Plasma Tables

Oxy Acetylene is the traditional, manual way of cutting steel, and CNC Laser is often seen as the only alternative due mainly to its accuracy and the narrow cut it produces. Plasma cutting has made great advances in cut quality and is the ideal cutting process for most applications. What are the advantages of Plasma cutting and how does the process compare to Oxy-acetylene and Laser cutting?

Key Advantages

  •     Significantly higher productivity
  •     Ability to cut a wide range of metals and thicknesses
  •     Significantly lower capital outlay (even with CNC cutting table included)
  •     Very low operating costs and ancillary equipment
  •     Low maintenance costs

 

Process

Oxyfuel

Plasma

Laser

Cut quality

Good angularity

Large heat-affected zone

Dross levels require rework

Not effective on stainless steel or aluminum

Excellent angularity Small heat-affected zone Virtually dross-free Good to excellent fine-feature cutting.

Excellent angularity Small heat-affected zone Virtually dross-free Good to excellent fine-feature cutting with narrowest kerf

Productivity

Slow cutting speeds Pre-heat time increases pierce times

Very fast cutting speeds for all thicknesses Very fast pierce times Quick-disconnect torches maximize productivity

Very fast on thin material (less than 6 mm-1/4") and slower on thicker material Long pierce times on thick material

CNC Capital Cost

Low

Low

Very High - needs high production volumes to justify initial cost

Operating cost

Poor productivity and required rework drive cost per part higher than plasma.

Long consumable life, good productivity and excellent cut quality drive the cost per part lower than other technologies.

High costs per part due to power requirements, gas consumption, high maintenance costs and relatively low cut speeds on thick material.

Maintenance Cost

Simple maintenance requirements can often be performed by in-house maintenance groups

Moderate maintenance requirements: many components are serviceable by in-house maintenance groups.

Complex maintenance tasks require specialized technicians.

Ancillary Equipment

Gas Bottles

Typically on requires clean compressed air

Variety of Gases, cooling systems etc

 

Process

Oxyfuel

Plasma

Laser

Cut quality

Good angularity

Large heat-affected zone

Dross levels require rework

Not effective on stainless steel or aluminum

Excellent angularity Small heat-affected zone Virtually dross-free Good to excellent fine-feature cutting.

Excellent angularity Small heat-affected zone Virtually dross-free Good to excellent fine-feature cutting with narrowest kerf

Productivity

Slow cutting speeds Pre-heat time increases pierce times

Very fast cutting speeds for all thicknesses Very fast pierce times Quick-disconnect torches maximize productivity

Very fast on thin material (less than 6 mm-1/4") and slower on thicker material Long pierce times on thick material

CNC Capital Cost

Low

Low

Very High - needs high production volumes to justify initial cost

Operating cost

Poor productivity and required rework drive cost per part higher than plasma.

Long consumable life, good productivity and excellent cut quality drive the cost per part lower than other technologies.

High costs per part due to power requirements, gas consumption, high maintenance costs and relatively low cut speeds on thick material.

Maintenance Cost

Simple maintenance requirements can often be performed by in-house maintenance groups

Moderate maintenance requirements: many components are serviceable by in-house maintenance groups.

Complex maintenance tasks require specialized technicians.

Ancillary Equipment

Gas Bottles

Typically on requires clean compressed air

Variety of Gases, cooling systems etc