Advantages and Disadvantages of Laser Cutting

Cutting is the most basic, common and widely used process in metal fabrication. In this, Laser cutting is the go-to technology to perform such jobs in the industry because of its many advantages over other methods.


At the same time, it does have disadvantages as well.


Let’s look closer at these.


What Are the Advantages of Laser Cutting?

The reason why engineers prefer a laser cutting service lies with the long list of upsides it offers. The advantages of laser cutting are flexibility, precision, repeatability, speed, cost-effectiveness, great quality, contactless cutting, versatility and automation possibilities.



Laser cutting does not require the same exchanging of tools for each separate cut thus making the same setup suitable for cutting a lot of different shapes within the same material thickness. It also allows for more intricate cuts than other cutting methods which gives it greater scope for design intricacies and creativity.



Precision/Accuracy is a massive advantages of laser cutting when compared to other cutting and thermal cutting methods.

An accuracy of +/-0.1 mm gives an opportunity to achieve high precision without any after-treatment. This in itself leads to further advantages and creativity in design possibilities and manufacturing capabilities.



Given the precision of Laser Cutting, +/- 0.05 mm, it ensures that parts that are identical replicas of each other which is critical in mass production of components required for precision engineering. 


Speed Action

Laser cutting is a lot quicker than traditional mechanical cutting methods. Particularly in the case of more complex cuts. The exact advantage point of laser versus other thermal cutting processes boils down to the power of the laser cutter, though.

When comparing it to other thermal cutting methods like plasma or flame cutting, laser beats them in speed up to a certain thickness which generally is around 10 mm.



There is a high degree of Automation when it comes to laser cutting. That being said, an experienced machine operator still plays a big role in the final quality but the speed of cutting and little need for manual labour result in lower costs compared to other cutting methods.

Many machines even come with loading systems as well as exchange tables. This does however make for a higher-priced laser cutting machine.



Laser Cutting results in a high quality finish. Using the right settings, laser cutters only leave a small burr. Often, it is not necessary to even remove it. Of course the material, its thickness and other factors do differ.


Contactless Cutting

A manufacturing advantage, in case of laser cutting is that only the beam comes into contact with the material. Therefore, there is no mechanical friction that could wear tools.



This is probably one of the most important aspects of laser cutting’s greatness.


Laser cutting is suitable for a lot of different materials. Among them are different metals, acrylic, MDF, wood, paper, etc. One machine can be configured to perform different jobs. Of course, the ability to cut some of these materials depends on the power of your machine.



What Are the Disadvantages of Laser Cutting?


Although used to produce parts in almost every industry, laser cutting does have it downsides. Namely, need of expertise, limitations to metal thickness, costs, hazardous fumes and energy consumption are all things to consider before turning to laser cutting.




Need of Expertise


As already stated, a specialist operator is a must in order to make the most of a laser cutter’s potential. The right settings and setup makes sure the cutting quality is up to the standard people are expecting from this technology.


Limitations to Metal Thickness


Comparing laser cutting to other thermal cutting methods, it is not suitable to cut very thick plates. Obviously the larger the machine the larger the thickness material it can cut. The knowledge of the operator also helps in this regard. On average, metal fabrication companies tend to laser cut metal up to 16 or 20 mm.


Upfront Costs


On the manufacturing side, set up costs to buy a Laser machine can be extremely costly and prohibitive. Lasers can be twice as costly compared to waterjet or plasma cutters. Although the running costs and efficiency make up for it in long term, the initial investment is still quite large.


Dangerous Fumes


Although one of the advantages of laser cutting is its flexibility for cutting different materials, the thermal cutting method makes material melt, which results in emissions of gases and dangerous fumes.


This is particularly prevalent when cutting plastic. Thus a good, but often costly, ventilation system is essential for a safe working environment.


Variable Costs


Energy and Gas consumption is not fixed. It is dependent on the thickness of material and intricacy of design of the component or part which will result in a longer cutting time. This can result in a high input cost of production.




Laser Cutting has many benefits, the majority of which outweigh its disadvantages. In most cases, Laser Cutting is a highly efficient, flexible and cost effective way to cut your required materials.


We hope this gives you more information with regards to laser cutting and its benefits.


Please feel free to send us your design and allow us to give you the suitable advice on whether Laser Cutting is the best service for your needs.



Starlaser Team



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Alternatively feel free to call and we will be happy to help in anyway possible




Tel:087 148 0365

Mobile: 063 215 2653



Tel:087 148 0365

Mobile: 082 803 2869