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Compare Cutting Technologies
 
Waterjet
Wire EDM
Laser
Plasma
Milling
Punch Press
Accuracy Average of ±0.003"
(±0.08 mm) and up to
0.001” (±25 μ) 1
±0.0001" (±2.5 μ) ±0.001" (±25 μ) 2 2 ±0.030 to ±0.060"
(±0.75 to ±1.55 mm)
±0.0003" (±8 μ) Fair
THICKNESS Upto 225mm 12" (30 cm) Generally less than
0.25"(6.35mm)
Cuts less than 1.25" Able to work on
3D parts
Works well with
thin sheets
CUTTING SPEED 5-10 times faster
than EDM when
thickness is under 1"
5-10 times slower
than waterjet
Very fast cutting in
thin, non-reflective
materials
Fast with thin sheets Fair Fast batch production
when initial programming
and setup are done
Edge Quality Good Excellent Excellent Fair Excellent Fair
HEAT AFFECTED ZONE
(HAZ)
None Some Yes Yes None None
MATERIAL DISTORTION No Distortion 3 No Possible Possible No Some
MATERIAL LIMITATION Works in virtually
all materials except
really hard ceramics
Only works in
conductive materials
Only non-reflective
metals 4
Generally works in
metals
Not ideal for very
large parts
Not good for brittle or
hardened materials
PROCESS Cold supersonic
abrasive used to
cut material
Spark erosion used to
remove material from
electrically conductive materials
Thermal process Thermal process Mechanical cutting tool Shearing process
SETUP Fast and easy
set-up
Relatively easy
set-up
Relatively easy set-up
but may have to tune
laser for different materials
Relatively easy
set-up
Time consuming
set-up and
programming
Time consuming
set-up and
programming