Plasma Vs Oxyfuel – Which is Best?

by | Apr 5, 2016 | Machining Manufacturer

Modern cutting technology offers a wide range choices to business these days, and many are turning to plasma and oxyfuel. Whether you decide to use oxyfuel or a sophisticated CNC plasma cutting machine, you’ll find important benefits with each option. Here is a closer look at these methods to help you make an informed decision.


Oxyfuel uses pure oxygen to cut or weld materials. This can create a much hotter flame than standard air. In fact, temperatures can reach as high as six thousand degrees Fahrenheit. This process can be used for a number of things. For example:

  • Welding
  • Cutting
  • Brazing and soldering
  • Pre-heating

Benefits of Oxyfuel

  • Cost effective – is cheaper than many methods
  • No electric power is needed in the process – this reduces the need for an additional power source, which can be substantial in some cutting processes.
  • Can cut thick steel plates easily

Oxyfuel Limitations

Unlike a CNC plasma cutting machine (which can cut many different metals) oxyfuel usually only cuts carbon steel materials. In addition, if you have the need to cut thin steel plate, it may not work as good as other methods like plasma.

Plasma Cutters

Plasma cutting does not work like a standard or oxy fueled cutting torch. Plasma is basically gas which has been superheated. Once gas is superheated it takes on the properties of conducting electricity and electric power can be utilized to fuel the process after a spark has been applied. There is a special advantage to this process. For example, unlike oxyfuel (which can be over 6,000 F) plasma can reach temperatures as high as 45,000 F.

Plasma Benefits

You can cut just about any kind of metal if you have the right kind of plasma cutter. Besides stainless steel and aluminum, you may also cut copper, magnesium, brass, titanium and even cobalt. Plus, you’ll receive these benefits:

  • Faster than most oxyfuel cutting methods
  • Can be used for automobile body panels
  • Little warp or distortion when cutting

Plasma Limitations

Most plasma cutting units have limitations on the thickness of materials they can cut. Although some can handle materials as thick as three inches or more, they are expensive to purchase.

Plasma is great for cutting, but if you want to solder, weld, or pre-heat metal, you are better off using an oxyfuel system. However, some plasma units can gouge and mark.

You’ll find many good reasons to purchase a high tech CNC plasma cutting machine and you may also wish to add an oxyfuel unit for welding. Both systems have significant benefits.

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