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What is the best value of cnc cutting machine,laser cutting machine or water jet cutting machine?

What is the best value of cnc cutting machine,laser cutting machine or water jet cutting machine?

A customer recently asked this question, which is a good question, and there are many possible different answers. The best "value" in a machine depends on what is most "valuable" for you! Let's take a quick look at some of the differences between these three machine cutting processes and compare their scoring methods.

Operating cost
When it comes to operating costs, you must consider power, gas, consumables, abrasives, and daily maintenance costs. CNC cutting machines have the lowest cost, usually about $ 15 per hour. The cost of the laser cutting machine will be slightly higher, usually estimated at about $ 20 per hour. Water jet cutters are the most expensive and are usually estimated at $ 30 per hour.

Without considering productivity, it is impossible to complete the discussion of operating costs, because the total cost of your parts will be determined by the machine's operating cost per hour divided by the number of parts produced per hour. This is where the cnc cutting machine beats all other equipment because it can cut many materials, ranging from 60 to 200 ipm (inches / minute). At most thicknesses, the speed of the laser cutter is much slower, usually in the range of 20 to 70 ipm. To date, water jet cutting machines are the slowest.

Trimming Quality
The quality of the cut edge refers to the straight angle of the finished edge and the amount of tin slag attached to the bottom of the cut. The highest quality cutting is usually obtained from a water jet cutting machine, which has a very square cutting effect, no scum, and no splatter. Laser cutting machines can produce very square cuts, but some slag will be left on thicker mild steel or stainless steel. CNC cutting machines have the lowest cutting quality, always have certain edge bevels, and often cause some scum.

Cutting Part Accuracy
The accuracy of the cut part is a measure of the actual part size compared to the programmed part size, and also includes consideration of the width of the cut, thermal deformation considerations, because it affects the size of the finished part and causes the part to warp. Similarly, cnc cutting machines have the best cutting accuracy, usually around +/- 0.005 inches, and the cut width is about 0.035 inches. Waterjet will not cause thermal deformation.

So far, the water jet cutting machine is the most flexible of the three cutting machines, because it can cut almost all materials. Lasers are limited to metals, certain plastics and fiberglass, and certain fabrics. Plasma is the most limited. It can only cut conductive metals, and is actually only suitable for mild steel, stainless steel and aluminum.

Many other factors can also be considered, and a more accurate assessment can be made, but this comparison can quickly outline the relative levels of some of the things people value most in CNC cutting systems. However, the result depends on which standard is most valuable to you and your company.

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