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Fiber Laser Cutting vs Plasma Cutting

Released on May. 25, 2022

The differences between laser cutting and plasma cutting are important when selecting the best solution for your application. Although one approach is not necessarily superior to the other, each offers certain capabilities and benefits that make one more suitable to an application.




What Is Laser Cutting?

Laser cutting has long been regarded as a safe, efficient, and reliable cutting process. Laser cutting machines make use of high-powered, computer-operated lasers. The core component is an optical fiber that is equipped with elements such as erbium, thulium, and dysprosium. When used with nitrogen, oxygen, or compressed air, the fiber lasers can slice through a wide variety of metals with a high degree of precision. Laser cutting machines are often multipurpose and used for a variety of jobs.


What is Plasma Cutting?

The plasma cutter is one of the most fine-tuned and versatile tools used to slice heavy and thick materials more easily. Plasma cutting is performed by forcing compressed air and inert gases like hydrogen and nitrogen through a fine nozzle at high speeds. The combining of the gasses, the high speeds, and the concentrated area of pressure create plasma, an electrically conductive ionized gas.


Benefits of Laser Cutting

Laser cutting was developed as a safer and more reliable process to meet the demands of manufacturing and production. Laser cutting is a non-contact process. The laser beam doesn’t physically touch the material, but rather it uses heat to cut through the material.


Advantages Over Plasma Cutting:

ㆍHigher precision

ㆍHigher tolerance

ㆍBetter for intricate cutting

ㆍLower distortion

ㆍCuts a wider variety of materials

ㆍLess cutting slag


Benefits of Plasma Cutting

Plasma cutting offers versatility across different types of metal. An electric arc is used to cut any conductive metal. They can typically complete a job in one-fourth the time of any other cutting tool.


Advantages Over Laser Cutting:

ㆍLess metal loss

ㆍHigher quality finish

ㆍLess maintenance

ㆍHigher cut speed of medium thick plate


How to Choose Between Laser Cutting and Plasma Cutting

Laser cutters can cut and engrave very thin metals without affecting the material.

ㆍLaser cutters can be used for other purposes like trimming and engraving.

ㆍMetals with reflective surfaces or that cannot be cut with flame-based machines are often cut with plasma.

ㆍPlasma cutters can cut through thicker materials.

ㆍLaser cutters are better for thinner, more intricate metals.

ㆍLaser cutters are also used to cut through non-metals, ceramics, and glass.


For parts that have simple shapes, without many cutouts or intricate notching, we typically utilize plasma cutting. When a part has tight tolerance specifications, needs a precise cut, and/or calls for a small hole diameter in relation to the thickness of the material, then we utilize laser cutting. Again, these are general rules and we consider which process is best suited to cut each part on a case by case basis.




Now, hopefully you have a better understanding of whether laser cutting or plasma cutting is better suited for your application. If not, let us help determine the right cutting process for your parts! LXSHOW LASER LX3015C-O is a product specially designed for sheet metal laser cutting machine. It has stronger cutting ability and higher cutting precision. Do you want to know more about it? Contact us today and we can help you.