Plasma vs Oxyfuel vs Laser

Is metal cutting using plasma the right option?

So, your business has reached a point where you have decided you need your own metal cutting capabilities.  Perhaps the outsourcing has become too costly, or time consuming, may be you’re just starting out or perhaps you’ve just made a nice profit and feel the time is right.  Whatever the reason, now it’s time to make some decisions.  What kind of metal cutting machine to buy, who to buy it from etc.

We like to think that if you’re on this page then you’ve already answered that last question but you maybe still at the research stage and that’s great too, we hope we can help you find the right metal cutting solution for your business.

To ascertain what is best for your business, you need to ask yourself a series of questions.

  • What is the thickness of the metal being cut?
  • What metal will you be cutting?
  • What timescales for completion are you aiming for?
  • What is your budget?

Plasma vs Oxyfuel cutting

Oxyfuel cutting is one of the oldest welding processes there is and therefore businesses are often stuck in their ways, with an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality that doesn’t allow for progression or flexibility.  That said, it is on the wane, particularly in larger industries.  However, as it’s still an option for smaller art studios and workshops, it’s worth investigating.

Oxyfuel oxidises (burns) the metal it is cutting, limiting its capabilities to ferrous metals like steel.  Metals such as aluminium and stainless steel form an oxide and make conventional oxyfuel cutting impossible.  As plasma doesn’t need oxidization to work, it can cut all conductive metal and therefore the scope is much greater.

More remote/rustic workshops are often limited to Oxyfuel simply because it requires no electricity source, unlike plasma and thus makes it a convenient and achievable metal cutting solution.

Plasma vs Laser?

Swift-Cut is solely plasma cutting but we appreciate you might be at the point where you don’t know what type of metal cutting machine you need.  Plasma is a relatively new form of metal cutting, developed in the 1950’s, but its popularity has grown more in the last decade or so, largely due to its affordability.  Whilst there are many differences between plasma and laser, perhaps the most obvious one is the cost.  Plasma cutting beats laser cutting hands down, both in terms of the initial investment of the machine and the ongoing running costs.

Plasma also has a much quicker production rate, with faster travel speeds and high precision cutting. Productivity is greater with plasma, all adding up to make it a more cost-efficient piece of machinery over the laser cutter.

For any business but particularly the smaller ones, a laser cutter is such a huge financial outlay that it’s a non-starter.  CNC Plasma technologies have made in-house metal cutting not only an affordable option but a sensible one too.  It’s quicker, cheaper and as good.  What’s not to love?

Take a look at our plasma cutting table range for more information.