Shearing Machine

How to Choose Right Cutting Machine For Sheet Metal

Different Cutting Machine For Sheet Metal

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

As a traditional sheet metal cutting machine, there are mainly (CNC and non-CNC) shearing machines, punching machines, flame-cutting machines, plasma cutting machines, high-pressure water cutting machines, and so on. These devices occupy a considerable market share in the market. One is that they are well known, and the other is cheap. Although they have obvious disadvantages compared to modern processes such as laser cutting machines, they also have their own unique advantages.

1. Shearing Machine

The (CNC) shearing machine is mainly straight-line cutting. Although it can cut a sheet of up to 4 meters, it can only be used for sheet metal processing that only requires straight-line cutting. It is generally used in industries that only need straight cutting, such as cutting after flattening the plate.

Hydraulic Shearing Machine
Hydraulic Shearing Machine

2. Turret Punching Machine

The (CNC/Turret) punching machine has more flexibility in curve processing. One punching machine can have one or more sets of punches with square, round, or other special requirements, which can process some specific sheet metal jobs at one time. The most common is the cabinet industry, the processing technology they require is mainly straight line, square hole, round hole, and other cutting, the pattern is relatively simple and fixed. They are mainly facing carbon steel plates below 2mm, and the format is generally 2.5mX1.25m. Stainless steel with a thickness of more than 1.5mm requires a mold because of its high viscosity.

Generally, people do not use punching machines. Its advantage is the fast processing speed for simple graphics and thin plates. The disadvantage is that the ability to punch thick steel plates is limited. Even if it can punch, the surface of the workpiece is collapsed, which costs molds, long mold development cycles, high costs, and insufficient flexibility. The cutting and processing of steel plates over 2mm in foreign countries generally use more modern laser cutting instead of punching machines. One is that the surface quality of thick steel plates is not high when punching and cutting, and the other is that punching thick steel plates requires a larger tonnage punch, which wastes resources. The noise is too large when punching thick steel plates, which is not conducive to environmental protection.

Turret Punching Machine
Turret Punching Machine

3. Flame Cutting Machine

Flame cutting machine is the original traditional cutting method due to its low investment. In the past, the requirements for processing quality were not high. When the requirements are too high, we can add a machining process to solve the problem, and the market has a very large amount. Now it is mainly used to cut thick steel plates over 40mm. Its disadvantage is that the thermal deformation is too large during cutting, the slit is too wide, and waste material. Moreover, the processing speed is too slow, which is only suitable for rough processing.

Flame Cutting Machine
Flame Cutting Machine

4. Plasma Cutting Machine

Plasma cutting machines and fine plasma cutting are similar to flame cutting. The heat-affected zone is too large, but the accuracy is much larger than that of flame cutting. The speed also has an order of magnitude leap, becoming the main force in plate processing. As the world’s top plasma cutting equipment. CNC precision plasma cutting machine has reached the lower line of laser cutting. It has reached a speed of more than 2 meters per minute when cutting 22mm carbon steel plates. The end surface is smooth and flat, and we can control the best slope within 1.5 degrees. The disadvantage is that the thermal deformation is too large when cutting the thin steel plate, and the slope is also large. There is nothing that can be done when the precision is high, and the consumables are more expensive.

Plasma Cutting Machine
Plasma Cutting Machine

5. Water Jet Cutting Machine

Water jet cutting machine is the use of high-speed water jet doped with emery to cut sheet metal. It has almost no restrictions on the material, and the cutting thickness can almost reach more than 100mm. It is also suitable for materials that are easy to burst when using hot cutting for ceramics, glass, etc. We can use a water jet to cut copper, aluminum, etc. for high-reflective laser materials, but laser cutting has a big obstacle. The disadvantage is that the processing speed is too slow, too dirty, not environmentally friendly, and high consumables.

Water Cutting Machine
Water Cutting Machine

6. Laser Cutting Machine

Laser cutting machine is a technological revolution in sheet metal processing, and it is the “processing center” in sheet metal processing; it has a high degree of flexibility, fast cutting speed, high production efficiency, short product production cycle, and has won a wide range of markets for customers. Laser cutting has no cutting force, no deformation in processing; no tool wear, good material adaptability; no matter simple or complex parts, we can use laser precision and rapid forming to cut at one time; its cutting seam is narrow, cutting quality is good, and the degree of automation is high, and the operation Simple, low labor intensity, no pollution; automatic cutting and nesting can be realized, the material utilization rate is improved, the production cost is low, and the economic benefit is good. Technology has a long effective life. At present, we can use laser cutting for most of the plates with a thickness of more than 2 mm in foreign countries. Many foreign experts agree that the next 30-40 years will be the golden period of laser processing technology development (the direction of sheet metal processing development).

Laser Cutting Machine
Laser Cutting Machine

7. Generally Recommend Cutting Machine For Sheet Metal

Generally speaking, the factory recommends using laser cutting for carbon steel plates within 20mm, stainless steel plates within 10mm, and non-metallic materials such as acrylic and wooden boards. Plasma cutting is recommended for steel plates within 20-50mm, and flame cutting for thicker steel plates. When processing copper, aluminum, and other high-reflective materials such as laser and glass, marble, and other fragile non-metallic materials, we can use waterjet cutting. The manufacturer of the chassis and cabinets within 1mm uses CNC punching machines in ultra-large quantities and relatively single-variety sheet metal processing industries. And then assist other cutting methods to implement cutting processing.

Sheet Metal Cutting
Sheet Metal Cutting

Judging from the current application fields of laser cutting machines and the technical requirements put forward by users, the future development direction of laser cutting machines is undoubtedly high power, large format, high efficiency, one-time molding, and high intelligence. The widespread application of the wide-format series in the locomotive industry and the heavy industry has brought users high-efficiency and high-quality productivity; the high-speed and high-precision series of cutting machines are widely used in the construction machinery and high-value-added product industries; as an external processing industry, super cost-effective The cantilever laser cutting machine is the best choice.

Sheet Metal Cutting
Sheet Metal Cutting

There are many factors to consider when selecting a laser cutting machine. In addition to considering cutting the maximum size of the workpiece, the material, the maximum thickness, and the size of the raw material width, more considerations need to be given to the future development direction, such as the product made. The size of the largest workpiece to be processed after the technical transformation, the breadth of the material provided by the steel market, which is the most economical for your own products, and the loading and unloading time.

In railway locomotive, heavy industry, construction machinery, and other industries, the contours of the parts that need processing are not too complicated. In order to enhance the processing capacity and efficiency, it is recommended to use the wide-format series. The format is generally 3-4.5 meters wide and 6-30 meters long. It can realize the one-time processing of medium and heavy plates, saving time and materials. When there are many workpieces with a thickness of more than 20mm, the wide-format and fine plasma (with a thickness of more than 45mm plus flame cutting) common rail cutting equipment is the best choice, suitable for processing 3-50mm or even thicker steel plates, and the feeding and cutting are performed at the same time, Cutting thin and thick plates at the same time will greatly improve the processing efficiency. For some small parts, the high-speed and high-precision series is the best choice.

Cutting Samples
Cutting Samples

Hydraulic Shearing Machine For Sale

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2 thoughts on “How to Choose Right Cutting Machine For Sheet Metal

  1. Nilson says:

    Hi, I like this article, I want to cut stainless steel, can you recommend a suitable cutting machine for me

    1. Sissi says:

      So glad that you like it. Can you tell me more details? So I can recommend a suitable cutting machine

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