Total system cost includes the cost of the power supply and torch (or cutting head in the case of waterjet and laser), as well as the cost of the cutting table or robot, Computer Numerical Controller (CNC), programming software, and other products such as for fume control, water treatment, abrasive removal and recycling, and so on. Generally oxyfuel systems have the lowest capital cost, followed by plasma and waterjet, with laser systems typically having the highest capital cost.
The total cost of a given type of cutting system may vary widely. For example, the cost of an X-Y cutting table from two different manufacturers may be significantly different, even when both machines use the exact same Hypertherm plasma power supply, torch, height control, CNC and programming software. In these cases it is important to understand the reasons for the difference. Does one table offer superior motion control? Is one machine a more durable or reliable product? Does one manufacturer provide superior after sales training, service and support?