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Plasma Cutting vs Torch Cutting – What’s the Difference

Plasma Cutting vs Torch Cutting

In the manufacturing industry, there are many methods of cutting metal. For large sheets or intricate designs, two of the most frequently used processes are plasma cutting and torch cutting. There are some distinct differences between these two processes, so let’s explore what sets them apart from each other.

What is Plasma Cutting?

Plasma cutting is a process that uses a high-velocity stream of hot ionized gas (plasma) to cut through electrically conductive materials like steel and aluminium. It’s a much faster process than traditional methods such as oxyacetylene torches or saws, which makes it an ideal choice for large-scale production runs where speed is essential. The process does require some specialized equipment, however, including a high-energy power supply that creates an electric arc within the plasma cutter itself. The arc then melts the material being cut, creating a seal around the part that prevents scorching and warping of the edges. This also allows for more precise cuts with greater accuracy than can be achieved with manual methods.

What is Torch Cutting?

Torch cutting is another popular method used to cut metal parts—although it’s not as widely used as plasma cutting due to its slower speed. Torch cutting relies on an oxygen/fuel mixture in order to produce a very hot flame used to heat up and melt metal parts before they’re cut apart. This method can be done manually with handheld torches but can also be automated using CNC machines for larger production runs. The downside to torch cutting is that it produces much more heat than plasma cutting which can lead to warping and discolouration of the material being cut if not monitored closely by experienced operators. Additionally, torch cuts tend to be less precise than those made with plasma cutters due to the lack of control over the flame temperature during operation.

Difference Between Plasma Cutting and Torch Cutting

  • Plasma cutting is a process that uses a high-powered plasma torch to cut through metal.
  • Plasma cutting is faster than torch cutting and can be used to cut thicker pieces of metal.
  • Plasma cutting produces less heat than torch cutting, which helps to reduce the risk of warping the metal.
  • Plasma cutting produces a cleaner cut than torch cutting and leaves a smoother edge.
  • Plasma cutting is more expensive than torch cutting, but the cost is offset by increased speed and efficiency.
  • Plasma cutting is the preferred method for cutting metal, but torch cutting can be used for smaller projects or when precision is not as important.


Both plasma cutting and torch cutting have their advantages when it comes to metal fabrication projects; however, each process has its own strengths and weaknesses, which must be taken into consideration when choosing which one is best for your project needs. If you’re looking for fast production times with minimal clean-up work after completion, then plasma might be your best bet; however, if you need more precise cuts or want something that can handle thicker metals, then a torch may be your best option instead. Ultimately it all boils down to understanding both processes in order to make an informed decision about which one will work best for your application!

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