All plasma cutters make high quality parts when they are new, but a heavy duty, well thought out design will continue to produce quality parts for years. Less expensive, poorly designed machines see a drop-off in quality the longer they are in service.
Is your plasma cutter designed and built to be heavy-duty? Is the cutting table fully-welded and rock solid? When it is, it easily handles heavy plate (2 inches and more) on a daily basis. Starting with a stable cutting surface allows all of the individual components to work together as accurately as possible. Some plasma cutter manufacturers take this a step further and machine all of the guide surfaces in a single setup. The resulting machine is very heavy duty and very precise.
In the long term, that translates into a machine that will outlast the competition. It is a plasma cutter that you will pay a little more for, but you will only have to buy once. It will enable you to produce high quality parts at a reasonable price for many years. Buying a CNC plasma cutter that bolts together or one built from the cheapest possible components gives you exactly the results you expect.
Having a heavy duty, high-precision CNC plasma cutter in shop allows manufacturers to control their own work flow, do their own processing and eliminate outsourcing their cutting to bigger companies.
Plasma cutting machines must be able to hold their advertised tolerances today and, more importantly, for many years to come. Only a well designed and well built plasma cutter will do this for you.
Like anything else, you get what you pay for. Be willing to pay a little more for a high-quality CNC plasma cutter and you will have a machine that makes you money, year after year. Buying quality is never a mistake.
Even in slow economic times, it can be a mistake to be penny wise and pound foolish. Can you afford to buy cheap? Buying quality is never a mistake.