Plasma Cutting Tips Part 6

A lot of effort should be focused on keeping the settings correct on the plasma cutter to maximize torch life. Few people when plasma cutting worry about the duty cycle of the plasma cutter or the torch. A torch or plasma cutter rated for 60% duty cycle can only cut for 6 minutes out of 10 at the maximum rated welding duty cycle. Anything over this and the torch and the unit will over heat. Even constantly pushing the torch to the duty cycle “wall” will cause premature wear and damage to the consumables. Not only the unit must be allowed to cool, but also the torch head and consumables. Please understand that a duty cycle is a guide, and there is no one looking over your shoulder to announce “time”, when you reach the limit. Most plasma cutters, and even welders have a duty cycle limitation device that figures your duty cycle based off of unit temperature. This “thermostat” type device does not measure based off of time, but off of actual temperature reached within the unit. It is set at a point where designers have chosen to be the thermal threshold. It is not a time based one. Given certain conditions, the thermal threshold may not always line up with the time threshold. Whichever comes first, should be the one obeyed. Trying to reset the unit before it is ready to cycle back on only cuts service life off of your unit and torch. Always be time and environmentally aware. Having a plasma cutter located near a hot spot or too close to a wall will affect thermal duty cycle. A “few” trips of the duty cycle does more damage than is immediately apparent.