Advantages and Disadvantages of Laser Cutting Machines Compared with Common Cutting Tools

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Cutting machine is a common and very important tool for material processing. Common cutting machines include water jet cutting machines, plasma cutting machines, punch presses, CNC routers, etc. They have different working principles and processing methods, and are used in the processing of different materials. In recent years, with the development of laser technology, more and more customers choose to use laser cutting machines for cutting, and laser cutting machines occupy some of the past market share of other cutting machines. So what makes laser cutting machines stand out in the fierce market competition? Today, let us analyze the advantages and disadvantages of laser cutting in cutting machines by comparing the characteristics of commonly used cutting machines on the market.

Advantage 1: High-precision

Laser cutting uses a high-power density laser beam to scan the material surface, heating the material to thousands to tens of thousands of degrees Celsius in a very short time, melting or vaporizing the material, and then using high-pressure gas to melt or vaporize the material. The chemical substance is blown away from the cutting seam to achieve the purpose of cutting the material. Laser cutting uses an invisible beam instead of a traditional mechanical knife. The mechanical part of the laser head has no contact with the work and will not cause scratches to the work surface during work. In addition, due to the small diameter of the beam,.the contact surface with the materials is smaller, so the cutting accuracy is higher. The working principle of plasma cutting machine is to use the heat of high-temperature plasma arc to partially melt the metal at the incision of the workpiece, and use the momentum of high-speed plasma to remove the molten metal to form an incision. Its cutting slit is larger, so its accuracy is smaller than that of laser cutting machines. The water jet cutting machine uses a supercharger to pressurize water, spray it from a small nozzle, and convert the pressure energy into kinetic energy. It uses the kinetic energy of this high-speed jet to impact and destroy the workpiece to achieve the purpose of cutting and forming. The diameter of the water column is larger than the diameter of the laser beam, which causes the water cutting machine to have a large cutting slit, so the cutting accuracy is smaller than that of the laser cutting machine.

Advantage 2: Fast cutting speed

By virtue of the extremely high energy of the laser source, the laser cutting machine can release a large amount of energy to cut the metal in a very short time,which empowers the lightning cutting speed. Especially when cutting thin metal sheets, laser cutting machines can cut faster than other machines such as water jets and plasma cutting machines.

Advantage3:Less waste and low maintenance costs

Compared with water jet and plasma cutting, laser cutting does not require the use of other media other than laser source for cutting. This greatly reduces the cost of using the laser cutting machine. Users do not need to frequently replace and adjust the parameters of various media, which also saves a lot of operating time.

Advantage 4: High flexibility

Laser cutting machines can not only be used to process various graphics on flat sheets, but can also be used to cut pipes, including various special-shaped pipes such as round pipes, square pipes, rectangular pipes, oval pipes, hexagonal pipes, C-shaped steel, angle steel.and H steel . It  can also be used to cut 3D materials: The picture below shows the 3D five-axis laser cutting machine and cutting samples developed by GWEIKE

3D five-axis fiber laser cutting machine

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Advantage 5: Batch Processing

Due to the fast cutting speed, high accuracy, and the ability to operate through a computer system, laser cutting machines are often used in batch processing. In addition, in order to improve the processing efficiency, laser cutting machine manufacturers have developed a series of accessories, such as exchange platforms, rolling devices, automatic loading platforms, etc. These equipment can save your time and labor required for material change in batch processing. These devices also greatly reduce labor costs in production, which is unachievable by other processing methods.

auto feeding laser cutting machine

The picture above shows the automatic loading and unloading plate cutting machine with exchange platform and the MB series plate cutting machine with coiling device developed by GWEIKE, which greatly improve production efficiency and save labor costs.

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Advantage 6: Fewer material restrictions

Laser cutting machines can be divided into fiber laser cutting machines and CO2 laser cutting machines. Fiber laser cutting machines can be used to cut metal materials, and CO2 laser cutting machines are generally used to cut metal and non-metal materials. Plasma cutters, on the other hand, can only be used to cut metal. Water jet need machine to bring materials into contact with water. It is difficult to process some materials that cannot be in contact with water for a long time.

LF1325LC fiber laser cutter

The picture above is the metal and non-metal laser cutting machine LF1325LC independently developed by GWEIKE. The machine can cut both metal and non-metal.It helps users save MORE processing space and the cost of purchasing machines.

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Advantage 7: Smooth cutting surface and no further processing.

Materials processed by laser cutting machines have smooth cutting surfaces and can be used directly without secondary processing, which save more labor cost and the time required to complete the workpiece. The surface of the material cut by the plasma cutting machine has slag, which requires secondary treatment. The picture below is a picture of the finished product of the same accessory processed by a plasma cutting machine and a laser cutting machine.

Advantage 8: Less pollution and less noise

Compared with water jet and plasma cutting machines, laser cutting machines make less noise and emit less exhaust gas when processing parts. No wastewater will be produced to pollute the environment, and there is no need to worry about how to treat the wastewater or increase the cost of treating the wastewater.

Although laser cutting machines have many advantages, there are some aspects where it cannot replace other cutting machines. Let’s talk about the disadvantages of laser cutting machines.

Disadvantage 1: Upfront Costs

Although the cutting efficiency and usage cost of laser cutting machines are lower than water jet and plasma cutting machines, the cost of purchasing laser cutting machines is much higher than purchasing water jets and plasma cutting machines. For some low-cost entrepreneurs, it may be difficult to purchase a cutting machine.

Disadvantage 2: Limited Cutting thickness

Since the power of the laser of the laser cutting machine is limited, the cutting thickness of laser cutting is also limited. For cutting some thick plates, water jet and plasma cutting have advantages.

Disadvantage 3: Difficult to cut highly reflective materials

Due to the characteristics of lasers, it is difficult for laser cutting machines to cut highly reflective materials such as aluminum, gold, and copper. Special laser sources and cutting heads are required for cutting. Such laser source and cutting heads are relatively expensive and the cutting speed is relatively slow. The water jet cutting machine is a physical cutting machine that does not react with highly reflective materials and can be used for large amounts of cutting.

If you have any questions about laser cutting machines, want to know more models and prices, and get more cutting parameters, please feel free to reach out.