Plasma cutting VS laser cutting VS flame cutting VS water jet cutting

Plasma cutting VS laser cutting VS flame cutting VS water jet cutting

CNC laser cutting, CNC plasma cutting, CNC flame cutting, CNC waterjet cutting are the more common CNC cutting equipment. Let's compare some of the differences between these four cutting methods.

Definition of four cutting methods:

Plasma cutting: It is a processing method that uses the heat of a high-temperature plasma arc to locally melt (and evaporate) the metal at the incision of the workpiece, and use the momentum of the high-speed plasma to remove the molten metal to form an incision.
Flame cutting: It is a common method for rough machining of steel plates. Flame cutting is gas cutting. Traditionally, acetylene gas is used for cutting. Later, propane is used for cutting. Now natural gas cutting appears. Because of its abundant natural gas reserves, low price, and pollution-free characteristics, it has become the first choice for flame cutting.
Laser cutting: It is a laser beam generated by a laser, transmitted through a series of mirrors, and finally focused by a focusing mirror to the surface of the workpiece, generating a local high temperature at the focal point, causing the heated point of the workpiece to instantly melt or vaporize to form a slit. At the same time, during the cutting process, an auxiliary gas is added to blow out the slag at the slit, and finally achieve the purpose of processing.
Waterjet cutting: using water like a knife, its real name is high-pressure water jet cutting technology, this technology first originated in the United States. Used in the aerospace and military industry. It is favored for its cold cutting does not change the physical and chemical properties of the material. After the continuous improvement of technology, garnet sand, emery, and other abrasives are mixed in high-pressure water to assist cutting, which greatly improves the cutting speed and cutting thickness of the water jet. Water jets have been widely used in ceramics, stone, glass, metal, composite materials, and many other industries.

Comparison of cutting speed of four cutting methods:

In terms of cutting speed, plasma cutting and laser cutting have the highest efficiency and the fastest speed; flame cutting is relatively slow, while water jets are faster when cutting soft metals such as aluminum while cutting hard metals such as carbon steel and stainless steel. The material is very slow. But this situation is not absolute. When the thickness of the plate is relatively large, the flame cutting speed will be faster than other cutting methods. The specific situation requires specific analysis. Interested friends can refer to this article on the four major factors affecting the cutting speed of CNC plasma cutting machines.

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Comparison of cutting quality of four cutting methods:

The surface roughness of laser cutting is not as good as water cutting, the thicker the material, the more obvious. Water cutting will not change the texture of the material around the cutting seam (laser is thermal cutting and will change the texture of the cutting area). The cutting quality of plasma is lower than that of laser cutting, and the quality of flame cutting is the worst.

Comparison of cutting accuracy of four cutting methods:

The laser cutting incision is narrow, the two sides of the incision seam are parallel and perpendicular to the surface, the dimensional accuracy of the cut parts can reach ±0.2mm, and the cutting slope is 1-3°. The plasma can reach within 1mm, the cutting slope is 3-5°, and the cutting slope of fine plasma cutting can be controlled at about 3°. Water cutting will not produce thermal deformation, and the accuracy is ±0.1mm. If a dynamic waterjet cutting machine is used, the cutting accuracy can be improved, and the cutting accuracy can reach ±0.02mm, eliminating the cutting slope.

Price comparison of cutting machines for four cutting methods:

The price of a 1000W laser cutting machine is about 150,000 to 200,000 US dollars. Under the same circumstances, the price of a plasma cutting machine varies from 20,000 to 50,000 US dollars depending on the plasma power supply. The price of waterjet cutting machines is second only to laser cutting machines, flames The cutting machine has the lowest price.

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Comparison of the application scope of the four cutting methods:

The application range of the laser cutting machine is very wide. Regardless of metal or non-metal, it can cut and cut non-metal, such as cloth, leather, etc. You can use a CO2 laser cutting machine. For cutting metal, you can use a fiber laser cutting machine. The plate deformation is small; water cutting It belongs to cold cutting, no thermal deformation, good cutting surface quality, no secondary processing, and easy secondary processing if necessary. Water cutting can perforate and cut any material, with fast cutting speed and flexible processing size; plasma cutting can be used for cutting various metal materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, copper, cast iron, carbon steel, etc. Plasma cutting has obvious thermal effects and low accuracy. The cutting surface is not easy to perform secondary processing; flame cutting can only cut carbon-containing metals, and the cutting accuracy is low, and the cutting surface requires secondary processing.

Comparison of cutting thickness of four cutting methods:

The industrial application of laser cutting carbon steel is generally below 20mm. The cutting capacity is generally below 40mm. The industrial application of stainless steel is generally below 16mm, and the cutting capacity is generally below 25mm. And as the thickness of the workpiece increases, the cutting speed is significantly reduced; the thickness of water cutting can be very thick, 0.8-100mm, or even thicker materials; the plasma cutting thickness is 0-120mm, and the best cutting quality range is a plasma system with a thickness of about 20mm The most cost-effective; flame cutting thickness is generally 30 ~ 80mm, the thickest can reach 300mm.

We will conduct a more detailed analysis of cutting costs. In general, when cutting thin metal plates with a thickness of 0-10mm, it is recommended to use a CNC laser cutting machine, but the one-time investment cost is too high; when cutting a metal plate with a thickness of 10-30mm, CNC plasma is recommended The cutting machine is very cost-effective and cutting speed is very good; for carbon-containing metal plates with a thickness of more than 60mm, it is recommended to use a CNC flame cutting machine; if the cutting accuracy is too high, it is recommended to use a water jet cutting machine.

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