A plasma Cutter generates a plasma column that is upwards of 20000F...compare that to 6000F of an oxyfuel torch.
That makes it ideal for automating because the plasma cutter arc is intense and plasma cutters cut real fast. And not only do they cut fast, but they pierce metal fast instead of having to dwell to heat the metal as with an oxyfuel torch.
If you compare gas welding with an oxy-fuel torch with tig welding, its the same concept. Anyone who has ever done gas welding AND tig welding knows that when done right, tig welding heats the part less, even though the temperature of the arc is over 3 times higher than the 6200f degree oxyfuel flame. More intense heat allows for faster travel, getting in, getting out, before the part has a chance to get too hot and warp.
CNC plasma cutting tables like this one have become pretty affordable and there are several brands out there to choose from.
One of the oldest brands is Torchmate... But there are several other reputable brands available.
If you are interested in learning more about the major brands of cnc plasma cutting tables, I am listing several pages with video and basic info on each right here... starting with a page on how a plasma cutter works...
3 tips on getting a good cut with a plasma cutter...
1. use new consumables. if you need a really good cut, use a brand new electrode and nozzle...or at least one that is barely used. You can not get a good cut when your plasma arc is shooting off to the side towards Aunt Nancy's house.
2. For thin metal, set the amperage low enough so that you can drag the tip against the metal. This will allow for the tightest cut with less heat and distortion.
3. Make sure your air pressure is right and that your air is dry.
Plasma cutters are very finicky about the input pressure. They also hate moisture in the air.
You need to buy a dryer if your shop air is not dry enough.
Some crazy stuff is going on inside that plasma arc.
Moisture throws a monkey wrench in the works and makes you want to sell your plasma cutter to your douche bag brother in law. But dont do that.
Just get an air dryer and set the pressure to what the manual calls for
I have seen several shops ready to ditch their plasma cutter when the problem was a broken air pressure gauge.
Once the gauge is fixed and the pressure is set right, they usually cut like new.