Why invest in a CNC Plasma Cutting Machine?
- Matthew Denny
CNC Plasma Cutting Advantages: Why Invest?
It’s a question we get asked regularly; Why would you invest in a CNC plasma cutting machine, and not a laser or waterjet?
Each type of profiling machine has its strengths and weaknesses; here I’ll try to enlarge on some of the reasons it makes sense for many companies to invest in a CNC plasma cutter:
Relatively Low Purchase Cost
Like most CNC machines, the cost of Plasma cutters can vary widely depending on the features required. Generally, however, they are the least expensive option when investing in a profile cutting machine. Laser cutting machines are the most expensive option, with waterjets coming somewhere in between.
Economical Operating Costs
Another win for Plasma cutting machines. As with any machinery investment, you must factor in power consumption, consumables, gases & compressed air and routine maintenance when creating your comparison. To run a plasma cutter typically costs around three quarters of the cost of a laser cutter and half the cost of waterjet.
No cost comparison could be considered complete without comparing production rates. While laser cutting is easily the fastest way to cut thin sheet material, CNC plasma cutters really come into their own when processing thicker plates, with typical cutting speeds being considerably higher than with other processes. Waterjet is significantly slower than both laser and plasma on equivalent materials.
The CNC plasma cutting process requires less complex adjustments. Advances in technology have meant that faster cutting and higher productivity is now available to smaller setups.
The arrival of High Definition plasma has resulted in the capability to work faster and more precisely than with previous plasma technology. While both laser and waterjet have the advantage in terms of edge squareness, the latest plasma machines now offer excellent cut quality with very little bevel as well as a virtually dross free finish, still without compromising on production feed rates. A plasma cut part is generally of a quality that is more than sufficient for a fabrication environment.
The CNC control of your chosen plasma cutting machine is the “brain” oy the whole system. Most modern CNC controls can work with a variety of toolpath files. Some also include CAD drawing software and more importantly, CAM nesting and optimisation software to minimise waste. The CNC control will also guide the operation of peripheral devices such as the filtration equipment.
At Bison Machinery, all our plasma cutting systems are complete turnkey systems available with a variety of optional extras. No matter your application, when investing in a CNC plasma cutting system you need to make sure it meets your requirements. Don’t hesitate to contact our Support Team to help you make the smartest decision for your business.