Here are two popular methods for cutting metal, plasma cutting and water jet cutting. The machines that perform each of these cutting methods do so easily and quickly through certain materials. However, there are differences, benefits, and drawbacks that apply to each one. At Boss Tables, we are your source for high quality CNC plasma table machines that deliver outstanding results for various industrial applications.

Plasma cutters use gas and electricity as the empowering elements for cutting, as opposed to water and abrasive with water jet cutters. The process of plasma cutting uses a gas forced at high pressure through a restricted opening, which then contacts an electric arc which is transported through a nozzle. The resulting reaction causes the gas (which is typically oxygen, nitrogen, argon, etc.), to enter a 4th state of matter called plasma. The temperature of the plasma is so high that it easily melts through metal at such a speed that it quickly removes excess material in its path and produces a clean cut. The material type and thickness can dictate the type of gases used with a CNC plasma table.

The water jet cutting system utilizes a combination of water and abrasive to quickly remove material along the cutting path. It is similar to a process of high-speed material erosion. The abrasive used in this process is often a garnet which is conveyed through a line into a mixing tube where it contacts the source of water and under very high pressure (greater than 50,000 psi) is sprayed out to produce a precision cutting stream that issues from the tip of a ceramic nozzle. CNC software directs the movement of the nozzle along a pre-determined path at varying speeds depending on the type and thickness of the material to produce the desired cut.

Plasma works best on steel. Some plasma cutting machines can cut stainless steel and aluminum with the correct setup. A water jet cutting machine is generally capable of cutting any type of material.

Plasma cutters produce smooth cuts on many types of steel. A water jet generally provides greater accuracy and precision.

Water jets use a significant number of consumables and require continual maintenance. The failure rate of water jet parts is often high due to being subjected to constant pressure. A plasma CNC machine for sale generally requires less maintenance and upkeep. It uses less consumables (other than gas) and has fewer parts that are vulnerable to breaking down.

On thicker plates and on materials that plasma does not cut well, water jet cutting is more cost-effective. On thinner steels, plasma cuts faster and is the more cost-efficient option.

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