Laser cutting versus plasma cutting

We have a range of the highest quality machines at ShapeCUT, where we do oxy cutting, plasma cutting, laser cutting and high definition plasma cutting and more. We often get asked to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of laser cutting versus plasma cutting (or high definition plasma cutting). As Queensland’s leading steel profile cutting and processing centre, we are in a unique position to be able to discuss how each machine works on high volume loads.

High definition plasma cutting

Plasma cutting was first developed in the 1950s, to cut stainless steel, copper and aluminium, and other metals that can’t be cut with flame. A plasma cutting system has a cutting torch, through which concentrated electrical currents and high velocity gas flow. Intense heat is created, which cuts the metal, while the gas gets rid of the molten material from the bottom of the cut.

Laser cutting

As the name suggests, laser cutting uses laser to cut materials. Laser cutting is precise, as it involves a focused beam of laser light that melts, burns or vaporises materials, such as steel. Laser cutting material using carbon dioxide is used to engrave metals, and more powerful lasers are used to cut metal.

Some of the major differences:

  • Plasmas transmit compressed gas to cut, while lasers usually harness the power of optical light
  • Plasma is used only for cutting metal, while laser can cut many types of material
  • Lasers are the more expensive industrial cutters, but are capable of cutting more levels of detail
  • Plasma emits radiation, so when operating, you need to wear protective gear
  • Plasma can cut thicker sheet metals than laser

There is no one machine that is better than the other. Depending on the application, a laser or high profile plasma cutter may be right for the job. That’s why it’s important to work with a company that has the latest technologies and best machines available. This will not only ensure higher quality and greater detail in the finished product, but a speedier turnaround and more reliable results.

ShapeCUT have been delivering high quality profile cutting to Queensland for over 20 years. Call us to discuss how one of our ten modern machines or our vast range of steel plates can offer same day metal processing services to your organisation.