5 Reasons to ditch CNC Plasma Cutting

There is much debate in the sheet metal fabrication industry when it comes to plasma cutting. Has it really had its day? Is Laser Cutting the way forward?

We recently posted on Linkedin highlighting some of the reasons we’ve heard from our customers for moving away from CNC Plasma Cutting. In fact, we have an entire case study on our blog about why one company choose to move away from Plasma and how it helped their business.

You can read that here: https://www.pressandshear.com/laser-precision-for-kelbie-engineering/

LinkedIn post about laser cutting vs plasma cutting

But if we were to actually look at which metal-cutting method is better, would we see why Plasma Cutting is losing out? We put it to the team at Press and Shear and here were the conclusions.

1. Efficiency

A plasma cutter operates using gases and an electric arc. They require more energy and are slow at cutting metal compared to their laser counterparts. This can make them expensive to run and harder to maintain. This is means plasma cutters are the least friendly option for the planet and your wallet. A CNC fibre laser cutter by comparison uses a focused beam of light or laser. This is a modern and efficient method of operation.

2. Accuracy

Even the best plasma cutter has its limitations. The more detail required, the harder the plasma cutting machine will find it and the more you’ll find yourself wishing you invested in a laser cutter. This is the way to go if you want to ensure accuracy as sheet metal laser cutting offers a much higher level of precision than plasma cutting.

Laser machine install at Kelbie engineering

3. What can you cut?

Where a fibre laser cutter will make light work of most materials, including copper, brass, and aluminium, a plasma cutter will often struggle. Even a CO2 laser will struggle with materials like this due to the highly reflective surfaces. A fibre laser will beat plasma and CO2 when it comes to cutting thin sheets of metal.

4. Is cutting alone enough?

One of the most common reasons we hear for people abandoning their plasma cutters is that they simply can’t keep up with the changing demands. It is no longer enough to just cut. People will want to cut, engrave, and weld. A plasma cutter is only able to cut. A CNC Fibre Laser Cutter opens up a world of possibilities.

Yawei HLF Laser

5. Return on investment

It’s easy to say a plasma cutter is the cheaper option. If you’re looking to save money this may seem like the obvious option, but it will come with a compromise. You may find you end up spending more because you’re turning work away or outsourcing it when your plasma cutter isn’t up to scratch. You get what you pay for and your returns will reflect that.

Time to ditch the plasma cutter?

It all boils down to what your business does and its ambitions for the future. Whether your plasma-cutting machine isn’t cutting it now (excuse the pun) or you’re looking to grow your business by offering new capabilities in the future, it’s worth considering laser cutting and ditching the plasma.

We’d recommend doing your research, working out what is next for your business and speaking to experts. Some resources you might find helpful are below and we’re always on hand to talk sheet metal cutting.