The Benefits of Laser Cutting Metal

In these economic conditions, there are additional pressures on manufacturers to understand and utilize the most cost effective method to cut metal sheet or plate for their components. There are many benefits of laser cutting plate, however there are numerous variables that must be factored in to choose the best manufacturing process.

The type of metal being cut, the thickness of the metal, and how tight the tolerances have to be are a few of the most common variables that must be considered. While the use of CO2 lasers seem to be an expensive cutting method, PEC Laser’s expertise and experience will keep your costs under control while producing high quality parts.

Laser Cutting vs. Plasma

Laser Cutting vs. Water Jet

Laser Metal Cutting

Our Laser cutting machinery is powered by 6000 Watts and is capable of cutting the following materials and thicknesses:

Aluminum Up To 5/8"
Carbon & Alloy Steels Up To 1"
Stainless Steel Up To 3/4"

*Also capable of cutting Inconel, Nickel, Chrome Steel, Hastelloy, Titanium, Armor Plate and any heat-treated steel or abrasive resistant material

Laser metal cutting technology delivers:


As a result of the programming capabilities of our lasers, there is minimal setup time. This makes it possible to do both small runs and large runs with a great deal of flexibility.

Higher Quality Parts

The technology also delivers a high level of precision for each cut and saves time by helping you avoid many secondary operations like deburring. Edge quality is far superior to other plate cutting methods.

Tight Tolerances

Standard Cutting Tolerance +/- .002” means accurate & precise parts.

Time and Material Efficiency from Nesting

Since each job is programmed, the machine operators can utilize our nesting software and run multiple jobs at the same time. There is minimal material waste when jobs are properly nested which results in cost savings for our customers.


Intricate pieces with slots, holes, angles, or detailed patterns can be created over and over with the same results.

Small HAZ

The laser technology also minimizes Heat Affected Zones (HAZs) which results in very little – if any - chemical change to the material.

Overall, our experience in this field results in jobs that run more efficiently, produced faster, done more accurately and cost-effectively than the alternative technologies.

PEC Laser already owns over 50 laser machines worldwide and has trained operators that understands how to achieve high cut quality.

Laser Cutting vs. Plasma

Plasma cutting was developed in the 1950s for cutting metals that could not be flame cut, and has been a method that is effective for cutting parts when you don’t require such a low heat affected zone (HAZ ). The plasma process uses a high-temperature, electrically-charged gas to melt the metal and blow the molten material away from the area that was cut. Laser cutting, on the other hand, vaporizes the material.

Plasma cutting is a precise cutting method, however the heat produced from the plasma cut does result in a higher HAZ, which means additional distortion on the material.

Laser Cutting vs. Water Jet

Water jet cutting is a process used to cut metal using a jet of highly pressurized water – up to 75,000 PSI. The water jet is sometimes infused with garnet for greater accuracy which can result in a processing tolerance of up to 0.008”.

The main advantage of the water jet technology is that it can cut metal up to 13” thick. Also, there is no heat involved so the material maintains its strength. However, the cutting rates and time of cut is drastically slower than laser cutting.


Since there are so many factors involved, it is important to consider the following issues when selecting the proper metal cutting technology for metal plates:

  • Thickness of material & type of material
  • Degree of tolerance required
  • Cleanliness of edge needed
  • HAZ and the stress on the part
  • Secondary machining processes
  • Repeatability

After factoring all of the above differences between the cutting processes, the realization that laser technology produces the most benefits should be evident. So if you are involved with parts thicknesses that are 1” or thinner, PEC Laser would welcome the opportunity to serve your needs.

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