The best value you get from the machinery you use would entirely depend on what is most valuable to you. From an all-round perspective, it can be determined that plasma cutting is an attractive option as it has so many benefits and is cost-effective too.
Let’s take a quick look at the advantages of plasma cutting steel.
Purchase Cost – When it comes to the initial investment cost of purchasing a machine, CNC plasma cutters come in at the lowest price, followed by waterjet cutters and then laser cutters, which are the most expensive option.
Operating Cost – Taking into consideration, power, gases, consumables, abrasive and routine maintenance costs, the plasma cutting operating cost again comes in at the lowest, with waterjet cutters being the most expensive to run.
Production Rate – Calculating your production rate is important because your total cost per part is going to be determined by the hourly cost to run the machine divided by the number of parts that can be produced per hour. Hands down, for plasma cutting steel, this method beats the rest on cutting speed as plasma cutters are able to cut materials anywhere from 60 to 500 ipm (inches per minute), which of course means a boost in your production rate. Laser cutting is much slower and waterjet machines are by far the slowest of them all.
Easy to Use – CNC plasma cutters are user-friendly and require marginal training which is yet another time-saving win.
Material Range and Thickness – Plasma cutters use nitrogen, enabling them to make precise cuts in steel and other metals and is ideal for cutting both thin and thick materials. As plasma cutters produce a high-heat but localised ‘cone’ for cutting, the process is well-suited for cutting sheet metal in angled or curved shapes. Plasma cutters can also cut metals with reflective surfaces.
Minimise Warping – While plasma cutters operate at high temperatures, the CNC systems are able to keep the surface of the metal cool, which results in minimal warping and damage to paint or other coatings. This allows for even and clean cuts without distortion. Plasma cutters also do not create a wide heat-affected zone (HAZ) that might burn or melt the steel.
Multi-tasking – As an added advantage, CNC plasma cutting systems can also be used as gauges to perfectly line up materials. They can also be employed for other purposes such as trimming, welding, scribing and engraving.
Safety – When plasma cutting steel, because the application uses a less flammable gas, many of the safety hazards of gas cutting procedures are eliminated.
The advantages of plasma cutting steel thus all add up to an application that will not only cut down on your labour and production costs but can also improve the quality of your end product.
Steelmor is the leading supplier and manufacturer of stainless steel in South Africa. Give us a call today on 011 747 5700 for expert advice and top quality products to meet your every need.