If you are a seasoned professional in the manufacturing or metal fabrication sphere, by experience it will be a lot easier for you to tell which among these celebrated material cutting methods offer greater value than others:
- Plasmacam table
- Laser cutter
- Waterjet cutter
When you speak of best “value”, a lot of the response you will get will somehow get subjective with respect to how the respondent interacted with, to what he deems is most valuable according to his needs. To some people, value for them will come through the cost by which the equipment was purchased, others will have it via the operating cost, cut part precision, cut quality, or production rate.
Below is an illustration of these differences existing between these popular and celebrated material cutting methods:
When it comes to the initial investment cost to acquire modern material cutting equipment, plasma cutting machines usually command the lowest cost ever. With respect to the size of the feature, and type, a CNC qualified cutting machine could command a tag price of around $15,000 to $300,000.
Definitely, a big range to look at, but a good percentage of CNC plasma machines that have been sold in the past 2 years is below the $100,000 mark. When you try to make a cost comparative analysis between laser and waterjet system, then what you are really about to embark on is an authentic CNC machine. It is not just about being an entry-level, low cost, or a garage-shop type of equipment. With this in mind, you might be going to start somewhere close to $50,000.
For writing and educational purposes, let us take on the assumption that plasma would command an amount between $50 to $100,000. CNC waterjet type machines, they would usually require to have as well that costly Ultra High-Pressure Intensifier Pump. This will drive it to range from around $100,000 to as high as $350,000. Things would depend upon, of course, on given options, features, and offered sizes.
Finally, as you might hear from other insiders in the industry, CNC laser equipment usually commands the highest market price. They are usually very expensive.
With regard to the operating cost, there are many things that you will need to take into account, such as consumables, gases, power, routine maintenance cost, and abrasives. The expected operating cost for plasma would again be the lowest in this department. Typically, for this type of material cutting machines, they would usually fetch around $15/hour cost. On the other hand, laser cutting machines would run at around $20/hour. And waterjet? They are so far the most expensive in this aspect, commanding at least $30/hour.
Unlike speed or cost, there is no easy way we can quantify this criterion. But it will weigh a lot when you put into consideration the array of materials that you can handle in your buying decision.
So far, waterjet cutting technology offers users the greatest level of flexibility among these 3 well-known material cutting methods — due to their ability to cut through a wide spectrum of materials. Laser cutters can’t handle metallics, fabric, some fiberglass, and plastics. As for the plasmacam Australia cutting systems, they can efficiently handle conductive metals and they are most recommended only for stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum.
A lot of other equally important things can be taken into consideration here, but this level of comparison here is offering us a good overview of relative ratings that industry users value the most when it comes to the CNC plasmacam Australian systems. The outcome would be depending upon the criteria that you and your team value the most.