Difference Between Stainless Steel Plasma Cutting and Laser Cutting

Stainless steel plasma cutting and laser are two of the most modern and sophisticated options for customising the material. Both are widely used and preferred in many industries. But if you must choose one between the two, it pays to learn their differences to make an informed decision. 

Let’s start with plasma cutting, which securely cuts plates and sheets with minimal loss or waste. CNC-programmable and high-definition cutting machines can cut materials 3mm to 100mm thick. Some suppliers have extra-large beds for oversized plates, with dual torches to accommodate high-volume production.

On the other hand, laser cutting uses intense monochromatic light generating high amounts of heat as the beam strikes the material. The temperature is high enough to vaporise or melt even the most heat-resistant materials. Manufacturers use state-of-the-art laser cutting machines, making them capable of cutting workpieces in sizes ranging from 0.5mm to 25mm. They use fully automated sheet loading machines for plate sizes 2m wide and 6m long and are customisable for high-volume runs.

How do they differ?

Stainless steel plasma cutting applies compressed gas, such as oxygen, inert, air, or others, depending on what needs to be cut. The process creates an artificial plasma channel through the material at a high temperature. That is enough to evaporate, burn through, or melt the workpiece, regardless of the thickness, making the process practical for cutting all kinds of metals, especially medium-thick stainless steel.

Laser cutting applies laser beams from laser devices. Reflectors transmit the beams focused on a workpiece by the focus lens to heat and melt a targeted area, resulting in a high-quality surface finish with a smooth edge. The process is ideal for medium-thin plates, including other materials like plastics and glass.

Check with experts
Whether you need both or are unsure which is for you, look for a reputable company that offers stainless steel plasma and laser cutting services. That way, you won’t have to look further, and you can get reliable, professional advice.