By Walt Debiasi
Plasma or oxy-fuel cutting: which is best for your job shop? It all depends on several factors, including the type of metal you need to cut, thickness of material, and cost. For thicker metals, an oxy-fuel is typically the better way to go, while precision cutting of stainless and aluminum makes plasma the ideal tool. Understanding the key differences between the two cutting technologies is crucial in knowing which to use. Here’s a quick primer.
By Stan Pollack
Each cutting technology has a long list of pros and cons. However, the most important considerations are your long-term needs and your customers’ needs. Each cutting technology has critical differences, ranging from material and application limitations to cost considerations. We frequently get asked about the differences between lasers, plasma and waterjet cutting machines, so here’s a quick overview.
Plasma, like lasers, cuts through materials faster than waterjets. Unlike lasers, plasma can cut through very thick materials. However, since plasma cuts with heat, there is a significant heat-affected zone on materials, so some sort of secondary finishing is required in many cases. Waterjets leave a perfect finish on the materials they cut since they do not cut with heat, so there is no heat-affected zone and no metallurgical changes occur in the material being cut. Additionally, waterjets usually cut with far higher precision than plasma, +/- .003 to +/- .010 versus +/- .005 to +/- .030.
By Miles Mooneyham
We hear it frequently from customers trying to navigate the many advantages offered by each cutting technology. The answer depends on a variety of factors ranging from the types of materials you’re cutting to precision requirements.
The key is understanding the nuances of each technology and mapping them to your customers’ own unique requirements. As a starting point, we’ve put together the following primer to help you better understand the capability parameters of plasma and waterjet technology.