Information On Plasma Cutting Machines
Plasma cutting machines are used to cut steel or any other material. In this method, an inert gas is blown from a nozzle at a great speed. Some of the gas is turned into plasma by the electric arc that is formed from the gas through the nozzle, to the surface that is cut. This is used to cut metals. The plasma is superheated and energy is provided to the arc that melts and blows away the metal. The plasma cutting machine can be used to cut any type of steel like, stainless steel, aluminum and steel. It is faster to cut mild steel that alloys with this method.
While deciding on the plasma cutting machine, be sure to know your needs. Decide the thickness of the metal that you will frequently cut. Plasma cutting machines are rated according to their cutting function and amperage. A one fourth inch machine will have 25 amps output, a half inch machine will have 50 to 60 amps output and a three fourth inch machine will have 80 amps output.
The plasma cutting machine should have cutting speeds that will be suitable for different thickness of materials and is measured by inches per minute (IPM). It would be best to choose a machine that is able to handle twice the thickness that you want to generally cut, so that all the work can be done well.
The duty cycle of the machine is also an important aspect in factories where the cutting is generally long and time consuming or is automated. The duty cycle is the time at which you can cut, before the machine gets overheated and needs cooling. If the duty cycle is high, you can use it for a longer period of time.
Generally, the plasma cutter has a pilot arc that uses high frequency to conduct high frequency through the air. This interferes with the computers and other office equipments in the factory. The lift arc method is the alternative that can be used. It has a DC+ nozzle with a DC- electrode inside and touching it. On pressing the trigger, the current passes between the electrode and the nozzle. Then the electrode pulls away from the nozzle and the pilot arc is made. The pilot arc is brought close to the material to be cut and cutting takes place.
When buying a plasma cutting machine, you should buy one that has less consumable parts. This means that there will be lesser parts to replace and thus will be cost effective. The same data should be compared with different manufacturers. Some will rate consumables with the number of cuts and other with the starts as the standard for measurement.
The plasma cutting machine should have a tight focused arc. Check the quality of the machine by cutting a material of same thickness and the same rate of speed, with machines of different manufacturers to get the best quality machine. You can check the quality of the machine by moving the machine to a certain distance and seeing from how far away you can maintain an arc. If the arc is longer it means that it has more volts and it can cut a thicker material quicker.
The transfer from the pilot to the cut and the cut to the pilot should be taken into account. The plasma cutting machine should be able to make a fast positive transfer from pilot to cut at a larger transfer height. This can be checked by cutting expanded material.
You should have a smaller torch with an extended nozzle, so that you will be able to see clearly what you are cutting. The plasma cutter should be lightweight and portable as it has to suit all kinds of applications. The machine should be rugged and should have the necessary protective coverings. It should have a control panel with instructions for easy operation, start up and troubleshooting. The plasma cutter should have all the necessary safety features, especially with the nozzle, when the arc is initiated.
The travel speed of the machine should be just right. If it is too fast or too slow, it will not give the desired results. The current should be set at the maximum at the beginning and then reduced as necessary.
Plasma cutting machines are used in many fields. They are used by auto manufacturer, construction industries, locksmiths etc. So, choose the one suited to your needs, after doing a thorough research on the different types of plasma cutters available in the market.