Plasma Cutting Vs Flame Cutting: Which One Is Better?

Plasma cutting is a cutting technology that uses high-temperature plasma arc with high energy density to centrally heat the notch and quickly fuse.

Plasma cutting is considered as one of the most ideal cutting methods for medium and thin plate. It is welcomed by users because of its high cutting efficiency and good quality.

Especially since the 1990s, due to the continuous improvement of plasma technology, the service life of its consumables such as electrode, nozzle and vortex ring has been continuously improved, which has greatly reduced the cost of plasma consumables and widened the prospect for the application of plasma cutting.

Plasma Cutting Vs Flame Cutting

According to the investigation of the steel processing workshop of Dalian Shipyard, a comparison is made between plasma cutting machine and traditional oxyacetylene cutting:

1. Comparison of cutting costs

The main cost of plasma cutting is the cost of consumable electrode, nozzle and vortex ring, and the cost of oxyacetylene cutting is mainly the cost of oxygen and acetylene.

The two cutting costs are calculated as follows:

1. NC oxyacetylene cutting, cutting steel plate with thickness of 18mm, consumption cost per meter:

Gas M3 / bottle Yuan/bottle Yuan / m3
oxygen 4 19 4.75
acetylene 5 70 14
Plate thickness (mm) Cutting speed (mm / min) Oxygen flow (m3h) Acetylene flow (m2 / h)
18 520 3.65 0.73

Oxygen consumption for cutting one meter steel plate:

3.65÷60÷0.52=0.12 (m3)


Consumption cost of acetylene for cutting one meter steel plate:

0.73÷60÷0.52=0.024 (m3)

14 yuan x0 024 = 0.34 yuan

Total cost of cutting one meter of steel plate:

0.57 yuan + 0.34 yuan = 0.91 yuan

2. CNC plasma cutting to cut steel plate with thickness of 18mm. Consumption cost per meter:

Take the MAX200 of Hypertherm company as an example:

Project Continuous cutting service life Unit Price Calculated service life Yuan/hour
Electrode 46 hours 50 yuan 4 hours 12.5
Injector 4-6 hours 128 yuan 4 hours 32
Vortex ring 15-25 hours 181 yuan 10 hours 18.1
Electric current Power Efficiency Plate thickness Electricity price
200A 30 KW 100% 18mm 0.80 yuan / degree

Hourly electricity charge for cutting steel plate:

30kW x 100% x 0.8yuan= 24yuan

Cost of consumables per hour:

(12.5 yuan + 32 yuan + 18.10 yuan) = 62.6 yuan

Cost per minute for cutting steel plate:

(12 yuan + 62.6 yuan) ÷ 60 = 1.24 yuan

The total cost of cutting one meter of steel plate:

1.24 yuan ÷ 1.5 = 0.826 yuan

Through the above theoretical calculation, it can be seen that the cost per meter of flame cutting is higher than that of plasma cutting.

Through the investigation of the shipyard, the cost of the two is basically the same in practical application, and the plasma is slightly lower.

2. Comparison of production efficiency

When plasma cutting 18mm steel plate, the speed is 1500mm / min, the flame is 500mm / min, and the plasma is three times that of the flame, so the production efficiency is quite high.

3. Comparison of cutting quality

Compared with the cutting quality, it shows the advantages of plasma cutting.

The plasma cut workpiece has no burr and slag, the surface is smooth and free of edge collapse, the cutting accuracy tolerance per meter length is no more than 0.5mm, and the workpiece deformation is small, which can replace or omit the machining process.

It is proved by practice that the plasma cut parts are not machined and fully meet the quality requirements of welding assembly.

4. Comparison of economic benefits

For the workpiece cut by plasma, the machining requirements can be saved, that is, the machining equipment can be saved, and the machining cost of hundreds of thousands of yuan can be saved every year.

Moreover, due to the high efficiency of plasma cutting, one plasma can replace 2-3 flame cutting machines, greatly reduce the area of production operation and improve the effective utilization efficiency of the plant.

Its comprehensive benefits are very considerable.

5. Conclusion

The consumption cost of plasma cutting machine is equivalent to that of flame, but due to its high efficiency, high quality and considerable economic benefits, although the previous plasma cutting machine has a large investment, it is still the best choice.

It is suggested that the factory leaders create conditions to buy CNC plasma cutting machine.

The manufacturer can choose a flame and a plasma cutting gun in the configuration, so as to prepare for the increase of production in the future.

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