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The difference between laser cutting machine and plasma cutting machine

Laser cutters and plasma cutters are two popular cutting tools used in industrial and manufacturing settings to cut and shape a variety of materials,what are their advantages and disadvantages?.Which is more suitable for modern industrial applications, the laser cutting machine or the plasma cutting machine? What are their differences?  Normaltan China reports from the ‘advantage and disadvantage’ to analyze.

1     The difference between a laser cutting machine and a plasma cutting machine

1.1 Cutting method

1.2 Cutting quality

1.3 Cutting material

1.4 Heat-affected zone

1.5 Cost

2     Advantages and disadvantages of laser cutting machine and plasma cutting machine

2.1 Advantages of laser cutting machine

2.2 Disadvantages of laser cutting machine

2.3 Advantages of plasma cutting machine

2.4 Disadvantages of plasma cutting machine

1.The difference between a laser cutting machine and a plasma cutting machine

1.1  Cutting method:

The main difference between a laser cutting machine and a plasma cutting machine is the cutting method.

      • Laser cutters use a focused laser beam to melt, vaporize or burn through the material. After the laser is emitted from the laser, the laser is focused to a high-density laser beam through the optical path system. The laser beam is irradiated on the surface of the workpiece to make the processed surface or the processed area reach the melting point. A high-pressure gas coaxial with the beam blows away the molten metal material. Then complete the step of cutting the workpiece.
      • A plasma cutter, on the other hand, uses a high-velocity jet of ionized gas to melt and blow away material. It transmits the arc power to the workpiece. The high temperature melts the workpiece and forms a plasma arc-cutting operation state. Then, the metal is melted using the plasma arc as the heat source. Cutting is a circular arc, so when the cutting fails, there will often be a certain arc. Therefore, the plasma cutting machine is not suitable for processing workpieces with right-angled sections.

1.2  Cutting Quality:

Laser cutting machines are known for their high precision and accuracy, which makes them ideal for cutting intricate designs and shapes. Plasma cutters, on the other hand, are better suited for thicker materials with less precision.

      • The plasma cutting machine can reach within 1mm. It is significantly larger than the laser cutting machine’s 0.2mm. Therefore, the accuracy of the laser cutting machine is higher.
      • The cutting operation of the plasma cutting machine has a large cutting gap, rough and rough cutting end face, and low cutting precision are its main disadvantages. The laser cutting machine can achieve small cutting gaps, high precision, relatively small heat-affected area, a smooth cut surface without burrs, and non-contact cutting without contact with the workpiece surface.

1.3 Different materials are cut:

Laser cutters are commonly used to cut a variety of materials, including metal, wood, ceramic, glass-ceramic, plastic, and fabric. Plasma cutting machines are mainly used for cutting metal, especially for thick plate cutting.

1.4 Heat-Affected Zone:

Laser cutters create a very small heat-affected zone (HAZ) around the cut, which means minimal damage to surrounding materials. Plasma cutting, on the other hand, creates a large heat-affected zone and can warp or deform the material being cut.


Laser cutters are generally more expensive than plasma cutters, both in terms of initial investment and ongoing maintenance costs.

The difference between laser cutting machine and plasma cutting machine

2.Advantages and disadvantages of laser cutting machine and plasma cutting machine

2.1 Advantages of laser cutting machine:

    •  Fast laser cutting speed: sheet metal cutting speed can reach 10m/min, which is much higher than plasma cutting speed.
    • The cutting quality of the laser cutting machine is high: the cutting table is smooth, and the cutting deformation is relatively small. The laser cut groove is very small, and it is directly used for welding without grinding the laser cut surface, which is efficient and time-saving.
    • High cutting precision of laser cutting machine: The precision of the laser cutting machine can reach 0.05mm, and the precision of repeated positioning can reach 0.02mm.
    • l  Wide range of application fields: it can be applied to metal and non-metal materials. It can be divided into metal laser cutting machines and non-metal (CO2) laser cutting machines.
    • The laser can also perform various other operations, such as engraving, welding, drilling, etc., which are very powerful

2.2 Disadvantages of laser cutting machine:

    • Laser cutting machines with higher upfront investment and maintenance costs are more expensive. At present, the cost performance of thin plate laser cutting is relatively high.

2.3 Advantages of plasma cutting machine:

    • The plasma arc energy is more concentrated, the operating temperature is higher, the cutting speed is higher, the deformation is smaller, and stainless steel, aluminum, and other materials can also be cut, these are the advantages of the plasma arc cutting machine.
    •  The plasma cutting machine has more advantages in cutting thick plates, especially in the process of cutting thick plates, it can reach a very high cutting speed, which is much higher than the cutting speed of laser and flame.

2.4 Disadvantages of plasma cutters:

    • Plasma cutters produce hazardous materials, including gases and arcs. The principle of plasma cutting determines the intensity of the arc, the noise, and the dust generated during the cutting process, which will cause harm to the operator and cause certain pollution to the environment. Medium and thick plates are generally cut by underwater plasma, so the cutting thickness is limited to a certain extent.
    • The verticality of the cutting surface of the plasma cutting machine is not good: the bevel angle will be relatively large, and the verticality will be relatively poor on one side of the cutting surface.
    • During the cutting process of the plasma cutting machine, more cut surface residues are produced. In order not to affect the quality of the cutting process, the residue must be ground, which also adds a lot to the labor cost.
    • During the plasma cutting process, the area affected by heat is relatively large, and the cutting gap is relatively large. Since the board will be deformed when heated, it is not suitable to cut thin boards.
    • Rapid consumption of consumables such as knives. The processing cost is relatively high.

In general

laser cutting machines are more suitable for the precision cutting of various materials, while plasma cutting machines are more suitable for cutting thicker metals, but with less precision. Choosing between the two will depend on the specific needs of the project and the material being cut.