Plasma Cutting Table Versus Laser Cutting Table

Both a plasma cutting table and laser cutting table make it easy to create parts that are CAD/CAM-designed and high-quality from different kinds of metals and materials. But considering your needs, which one is best for you? It would be hard to tell if you don’t have any experience using these types of equipment.

Plasma Cutting Tables

Plasma cutting has been around since the 1970s and 1980s but it only became very refined in the last few years. Early plasma cutters used to be inefficient and left behind chips and scars on cut materials and metals, so they were not really an ideal choice for precise applications.

Today, plasma cutting table technology is so much more refined. It is now used by millions of companies and shops around the world. So far it is considered to be the best way to cut conductive metals such as aluminum and stainless steel.

Below are some of the pros and cons of a plasma cutting table.

Pros:

  • Lowest operating cost: It consumes less power than the counterpart laser cutting. This means that the operating cost of a plasma cutter is lower than a laser cutter.
  • Fastest production rate: It has a very fast production rate, especially if you are working with thicker materials as they can slow laser cutters down a bit.
  • Can cut extremely thick materials: Such cutting tables can cut materials that are multiple inches in thickness, unlike with laser cutters.

Cons:

  • Not for precision cuts: The plasma jet that is used to cut materials is not as accurate as a laser. This is not often a problem except for those extremely low-tolerance applications, however.
  • Cuts may require refinishing: These cutters may cause dross and debris to adhere to the bottoms and sides of a cut, thus each cut might need to be refinished.
  • It can only cut conductive metals: Plasma cutters should react with a conductive material to cut. Meaning, they can only cut conductive metals such as aluminum and steel.

Laser Cutting Tables

Laser cutting makes use of high-powered C02 laser so it can cut metals and materials of all types. Laser cutting has been in utilized for decades and is considered to be a good option for manufacturers and shops that should have an increased flexibility.

Here are some of the pros and cons of laser cutting tables.

Pros:

  • Cuts a wide variety of materials: Laser cutting works on metals, as well as fabric and plastics or even wood, making it flexible for various projects.
  • Accurate and precise: Lasers offer a more accurate and precise result compared, though they may leave heat scars/marring in some situations.
  • Can be utilized for detail work: Lasers can be used to add more details to a finished project. This includes engraving, as well as decorations.

Cons:

  • Could not handle extremely reflective types of materials: Extremely reflective metals like copper usually cannot be cut by laser as they simply reflect the laser light.
  • Slower production rate: They are slower than plasma cutting tables for the majority of applications.
  • Cannot cut thick materials: Materials that are thick can’t be cut by most lasers.

What is Right for your Business?

If you are going to use the cutting table to create parts out of thick metals that are highly-conductive, then plasma cutting tables are definitely the right choice.