Comparisons Of Metal Cutting Processes

In production, with the development of science and technology, the types of metal cutting processes have been continuously enriched. More common are laser cutting, water cutting, plasma cutting, and wire cutting. In our actual machining, selecting the appropriate process according to the different materials or machining requirements can achieve better machining results.

Related Comparisons Of Common Metal Cutting Processes
Comparisons Of Metal Cutting Processes

Comparison Of Application Range

  • The laser cutting machine has a wide range of applications. It can cut metal and non-metals. Cutting non-metals, such as cloth and leather, can use CO2 laser cutting machines, and cutting metals can use fiber laser cutting machines. Plate deformation is small.
  • Water cutting is cold cutting, no thermal deformation, good cutting surface quality, no secondary machining is needed, and secondary machining is easy if necessary. Water cutting can punch and cut any material, with fast cutting speed and flexible machining size.
  • Plasma cutting machine can be used for cutting various metal materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, copper, cast iron, carbon steel, etc. Plasma cutting has obvious thermal effects, low precision, and it is not easy to perform secondary machining on the cutting surface.
  • Wire cutting can only cut conductive materials, and cutting coolant is required during the cutting process, so it cannot cut materials such as paper and leather that are not conductive, afraid of water, and afraid of cutting coolant contamination.

Comparison Of Cutting Thickness

  • The industrial application of laser-cut carbon steel is generally less than 20mm. Cutting capacity is generally below 40mm. Stainless steel industrial applications are generally below 16mm, and cutting capacity is generally below 25mm. And as the thickness of the workpiece increases, the cutting speed decreases significantly.
  • Water-cut thickness can be very thick, 0.8-100mm, or even thicker materials.
  • Plasma cutting thickness is 0-120mm. Plasma system with the best cutting quality range thickness of about 20mm is the most cost-effective.
  • The wire cutting thickness is generally 40 ~ 60mm, and the maximum thickness can reach 600mm.

Comparison Of Cutting Speed

  • With a power of 1200W, a 2mm thick low carbon steel plate can be cut at a speed of 600cm / min. A 5mm thick polypropylene resin plate can be cut at a speed of 1200cm / min. The cutting efficiency achieved by EDM wire cutting is generally 20 to 60 square millimeters per minute, and the highest can reach 300 square millimeters per minute. Obviously, the laser cutting speed is fast and can be used for mass production.
  • The water cutting speed is quite slow and is not suitable for mass production.
  • Plasma cutting has a slow cutting speed and relatively low accuracy. It is more suitable for cutting thick plates, but the end face has a slope.
  • For metal machining, wire cutting has higher accuracy, but the speed is very slow. Sometimes other methods need to be perforated and threaded to cut, and the cutting size is greatly limited.

Comparison Of Cutting Accuracy

  • The laser cutting incision is narrow, the two sides of the slit are parallel and perpendicular to the surface, and the dimensional accuracy of the cutting part can reach ± 0.2mm.
  • Plasma can reach within 1mm.
  • Water cutting will not cause thermal deformation, and the accuracy is ± 0.1mm. If a dynamic water cutting machine is used, the cutting accuracy can be improved. The cutting accuracy can reach ± 0.02mm, eliminating the cutting slope.
  • The accuracy of wire cutting is generally ± 0.01 ~ ± 0.02mm, and the highest can reach ± 0.004mm.

Comparison Of Slit Width

  • Laser cutting is more precise than plasma cutting, and the slit is small, about 0.5mm.
  • Plasma cutting slit is larger than laser cutting, about 1-2mm.
  • Water-cut slits are about 10% larger than the diameter of the knife tube, typically 0.8-1.2mm. As the diameter of the trowel pipe expands, the cutout becomes larger.
  • The width of the slit for wire cutting is the smallest, generally around 0.1-0.2mm.

Comparison Of Cutting Surface Quality

The surface roughness of laser cutting is not as good as that of water cutting. The thicker the material, the more obvious.
Water cutting does not change the texture of the material around the cutting seam (laser belongs to thermal cutting and changes the texture of the cutting area).

Comparison Of Production Input Costs

  • 1) Different models of laser cutting machines have different prices. Cheaper ones such as carbon dioxide laser cutting machines only cost 20,000 to 30,000, and expensive ones such as 1000W fiber laser cutting machines now cost over one million. Laser cutting has no consumables, but the equipment investment cost is the highest among all cutting methods, and it is not a little higher, and the maintenance cost is also quite high.
  • 2) Plasma cutting machine is much cheaper than laser cutting machine. Depending on the power and brand of the plasma cutting machine, the price varies, and the use cost is higher. Basically, as long as it can conduct conductive materials, it can cut.
  • 3) The cost of water cutting equipment is second only to laser cutting, high energy consumption, high use and maintenance costs, and cutting speed is not as fast as plasma, because all abrasives are disposable, and once discharged, they are discharged into nature. Therefore, the environmental pollution caused is also relatively serious.
  • 4) Wire cutting is generally around tens of thousands. But wire cutting has consumables, molybdenum wire, cutting coolant and so on. There are two kinds of wire commonly used in wire cutting. One is molybdenum wire (molybdenum is precious), which is used for fast-moving equipment. The advantage is that molybdenum wire can be reused multiple times. The other is copper wire (which is much cheaper than molybdenum wire anyway) ), Used for slow-walking equipment, the disadvantage is that copper wire can only be used once. 

In addition, fast-feeding machines are far cheaper than slow-feeding machines. The price of one slow-feeding wire is equal to 5 or 6 fast-feeding wires.

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