Automobile bodies, airplane wings, architectural roofs, medical tables, cargo truck panels, holding tanks, and dumpsters – these are just some of the many everyday objects that can be fabricated from sheet metal. Because of its tremendous significance in society, it only makes sense for industries to come up with better ways to process the metal, which is why we have several methods to do it.
There are a number of processes used for sheet metal cutting, and each of them is being utilised by manufacturing companies for one simple reason – they can get the job done. These processes include plasma cutting, electrical discharge machining, water jetting, laser cutting, metal bending, curling, wheeling, and punching, among others.
However, there are differences between these cutting processes. It’s important for companies to take into account their particular business requirements before settling in on a cutting method, as each one offers its own set of advantages that make it ideal for certain needs and uses.
For instance, water jet cutters, plasma cutters, laser cutters, and EDM machines are four of the most highly sought-after cutting technologies due to their extraordinary ability to make a series of complex, high-precision cuts on materials with great efficiency. But the issue is that these processes don’t have the same level of cutting power.
So even though all four of them can cut different types of materials with extreme precision, their varying levels of cutting power mean that you need to carefully consider the thickness of the material that you’ll be working on before you settle in on a cutting process.
Metals are hard by nature, and sheet metals are no different.
Sheet metals also happen to have thicknesses that vary drastically, and certain types of cutting technologies work best on certain sheet metal thicknesses. For example, laser cutters are known for their speed, precision and ability to yield high-quality cuts with smooth edges. But most lasers are limited to precision cutting thinner sheet metals (up to 0.25 inches thick) because of their limited cutting power. If thicker metals need to be cut, stronger lasers and gas tubes are required.
On the other hand, water jet cutters, plasma cutters and EDM machines are more suitable for precision cutting thicker sheet metals because of their superior cutting power. Plus, their cutting speed is fast enough for maintaining ideal productivity levels. However, they also have negatives. Plasma cutters are much more dangerous to operate and have limited workability; water jet cutters are very expensive to get, and EDM machines are slower and have limited workability.
So, the easiest way to cut sheet metal depends on the thickness of the metal. If you’re cutting sheet metals that are 0.25 inches thick or lower, the easiest way to cut them is by using laser cutting. If you’re cutting sheet metals that are thicker than 0.25 inches, the easiest way to cut them is by using EDM, water jetting, or plasma cutting.