Plasma cutting is one of the great tools for cutting material in high quality, smoothly, and with higher productivity. So, you might think that High-quality cutting equipment is required for producing metal products and improving workplace productivity.
Plasma is the thermal cutting process where plasma, a jet of ionized gas, is produced to a temperature of over 20,000°C to cause melting and eliminate material from the cut. In this article, we will discuss the history of plasma cutters, their pros and cons, their uses, and their working processes.
What is Plasma Cutting?
Plasma arc cutting is also known as plasma fusion cutting which is the fourth state of matter. However, matter has three states: solid, liquid, and gas. When the matter is transformed by energy it changes its state. So, by transferring energy from an electrical source to any conductive matter using this electrically conductive gas, a plasma cutter can cut materials more quickly and cleanly.
Heavy and thick metals like steel, aluminum, copper, and stainless steel can be smoothly cut with an electric plasma machine through the use of the plasma torch. To melt the metal requires no welding but rather an arc of electricity.
Plasma Cutting History?
Plasma cutting is the modern method of cutting materials by using an electrical arc. With the passage of time, the changes developed in the machine and became more capable, expensive, and easy to use.
|In 1927||American chemist Irving Langmuir originally put forward the concept of plasma, the fourth state of the material.|
|In 1930||During the starting experiments scientists cut material and do research using electric arcs and glasses.|
|In 1950||Robert M. Gage invented plasma cutting.|
|1960 to 1970||As time passed technology introduced new methods and the use of his tool for cutting material became popular.|
|1980 to 1990||Engineers worked during the 1980s as they developed and implemented an array of innovative features like oxy-gen-based plasma cutters and better-cut control by varying power levels.|
|In 2000||During the uses and experiments of technology, the plasma cutting method improved in design, cutting method, and quality and CNC plasma cutting gained popularity.|
|In 2023||Consumable technology has transformed plasma cutting tips by reducing plasma arc turbulence with a high-velocity layout and stabilizing and speeding the gas column that lets you develop cuts with an ultra-smooth bevel of less than 2º.|
What are the Types of Plasma Cutting?
There are many types of plasma cutting that are used according to their requirements and properties. Here are some types of plasma described below.
Oxygen plasma looks like a light blue color. Any plasma process performed while oxygen is being added to the plasma tank is referred to as oxygen plasma. Before bonding, surfaces are often cleaned using oxygen which also is worked with the combination of plastic and rubber to cut the material.
An air plasma cutter is used to cut or engrave on materials like metals which is one of the faster cutting tools used in metalworking and fabrication industries.
High Definition Plasma
For cutting the high quality of material High Definition plasma is the best choice that is mostly used in industries. Plasma units use a gas blend and have a smaller nozzle that is designed to increase the quality of cutting.
CNC Plasma cutting
A CNC plasma cutter is a tool designed particularly to cut through materials with electrical conductivity by utilizing a computer to control and direct an accelerating jet of hot plasma at the substance that is being cut. CNC plasma cutters can cut different materials that can cut steel as much as 150 mm thick.
Water Plasma cutting
For the purpose of shielding the precision arc from the water, the air curtain utilizes air that is compresse to create a bubble around the torch’s front end. The water jet is a more accurate machine that cuts the material in high quality. This tool is specially designed to cut non-ferrous metal.
The operator holds the plasma and cuts the material carefully. To cut the small metal use this tool. Hand-held torches can usually cut as much as 38 mm thick steel plates.
How does Plasma Cutting Work?
Plasma tool is used to cut the metal by heat and the machines are available in all shapes and sizes. The working level of the types of plasma is mostly the same. Plasma cutters use gases like air, nitrogen, argon, oxygen, helium, etc. Now, step by step, we understand the working process.
Components of the Plasma System
To work properly plasma has several components that are listed below.
- Power Supply: The plasma power supply turns single-phase or three-phase AC line voltage into a steady DC voltage between 200 and 400VDC. The plasma arc remains stable during the cut by this DC voltage.
- Arc Console: For the purpose of creating the plasma arc inside the plasma torch, the ASC circuit produces an AC voltage of approximately 5,000 VAC at 2 MHz.
- Plasma Torch: The parts of the plasma torch are the electrode, nozzle, and swing ring.
Before cutting the material, you need to set the plasma setting. Proper alignment and cooling of the supplies are the two functions of a plasma torch. The electrode, swirl ring, and nozzle are the primary consumable parts needed for producing a plasma arc.
- Electrode: It is made of a blend of copper. In the torch that produces the negative charges. The operation elements (tungsten and hafnium) develop molten over time as it is utilized, so when cutting happens, they exit through the nozzle forming a pitted hole at the electrode’s front. When the pitted front is deeper than around 0.8mm it’s time to change the electrode to make it more usable.
- Nozzle: Nozzle around the electrode that despite the fact that the gases whirling through the nozzle assist in cooling it slightly, heat still plays a significant role in limiting the arc. Over time, the nozzle’s orifice decreases, becoming broader and irregular. To analyze the nozzle is important before cutting.
- Swirl Rings: With the passage of time the swing rings need to be changed due to constant heating and cooling. As an overall guideline, think about replacing your reliable swirl ring every five to ten sets of electrodes or nozzles.
Process of Plasma cutter
Electric arcs are pushed through gas using plasma cutters in order to work. Following that, this gas moves through a nozzle, which has an insignificant hole. Regardless of the small hole, the gases flow through it quickly develop a plasm, and cut the material into pieces according to requirements and needs.
Types of Cutting Process
As all the plasma systems do not work similarly, there are three types of cutting processes that are:
- Frequency of Contact: The process is not more expensive and is not available in CNC plasma cutters. That is the process of cutting the material by using high voltage and high-frequency sparks. The plasma torch comes into touch with the metal and then sparks. Due to the circuit closing, a spark occurs, which in turn creates plasma.
- Plasma torch spring-loaded head: Operators touch the torch against the workpiece to generate a short circuit. The current begins flowing once a short circuit has been established. Operators release the pressure to set up the pilot arc after the operators start the cutting process.
- Pilot Arc: With the combination of the low current circuit and high voltage the spark is produced inside the torch. A small quantity of plasma exists as a result of this spark. The plasma cutter begins the cutting process by creating the cutting arc while its blade comes into contact with the workpiece.
What gasses are used in the Cutting Process?
The most frequently employed plasma gases for plasma cutting contain compressed air, nitrogen, argon, hydrogen, and oxygen, as well as combinations of two or three of these gases. Cutting quality, efficiency, and cost are the three main factors that determine which gas to utilize.
|Plasma Gas||Shield Gas||Explanation||Mild Steel||Stainless Steel||Aluminium|
|Compressed Air||Air||Air is an effective gas for plasma cutting since it consists primarily of nitrogen (78% by volume) and oxygen (21% by volume).||Cutting quality greatQuicker cutting speedEconomical||Cutting quality greatQuicker cutting speedEconomical||Cutting quality greatQuicker cutting speedEconomical|
|Oxygen||Air||The most rapid cutting speed is attained by using oxygen in your plasma flame and it’s the best pair with electrodes.||Cutting quality greatQuicker cutting speedEconomical||No advice||No advice|
|Nitrogen||Air||A higher voltage supply produces a more powerful jet and more stable plasma arcs for nitrogen.||Cut quality good impressive portions of life||Cut quality excellent portions of life||Hydrogen frequently serves as an extra gas to be combined with other plasma-cutting gases. In order to generate one of the most powerful gases for plasma cutting used pairs is hydrogen and argon.|
|Argon & Hydrogen||Water||Cut quality good impressive portions of life||No advice||Perfect for thickness above 1/2 inch||Perfect for thickness above 1/2 inch|
|Nitrogen||CO2||CO2 also works well with nitrogen which can cut the material in good quality. It’s more expensive than air.||Just a little rubbish, Decent cut quality, Impressive portions of life||Cut quality good impressive portions of life||Cut quality goodImpressive portions of life|
What Metals are cut by using Plasma Cutting?
The plasma tool is used for cutting a lot of metals which is primarily due to the fact that the plasma can cut the conductive material.
- Stainless steel
- Cast iron
- Mild steel
What are the Pros and Cons of Plasma Cutting?
Ionized gas is utilized to cut the metal and plasma cutter, is a type of thermal cutting. Cutting large metal plates is a technique, but sheet metal may additionally benefit from it. The plasma tool is more usable but it has several disadvantages, let’s discuss them.
|Capable of cutting all conductors.||The plasma tool is limited to ferrous Metals.|
|Metals of medium to high thicknesses, especially steel, aluminum, and copper, are easily cut by plasma.||Produced flashes of light have a negative effect on human eyes.|
|It can cut the material more quickly than oxy-fuel and laser cutting.||Bigger than laser cutting.|
|high-quality for up to 50 mm in thickness.||Insufficient for thicknesses|
|Plasma cutter is versatile and durable||It could not always be as accurate as other methods of cutting.|
|High precision as well as reproducibility can be obtaine by CNC machines.||When cutting in air, fumes are formed.|
|You can relocate plasma cutters easily since they are portable.||Operations may be on occasion loud.|
|Cutting with plasma provides a more sustainable choice.||More expansive kerf than laser cutting.|
What are the Uses of Plasma Cutting in Construction?
Plasma cutters are used in any working project according to their properties such as construction, shipbuilding, and military manufacturers. Using the tool can easily cut large sizes of materials. Now, discuss the uses of plasma in many projects.
Plasma is typically used in construction sites due to its visibility and great work for cutting large sizes of materials like steel plates. The most prevalent applications for designers and artists are in sculpture and designations, as well as in decorative panels for interior projects.
To cut the material that’s used in the structure of the building. Plasma is designed to cut the large size of the material for preparing the structure and fulfilling its requirements. Mechanized plasma is mostly used for large-scale projects due to its great features.
Metal Fabrication on the Road:
After coming across the plasma on site with its uniqueness that can cut the metal according to size. Portable plasma is suitable for construction sites that can easily move from one job to another. To repair the roofing, or install a new roof in projects professional roofers use the high-quality material for their great work.
Conductive material can easily be cut using plasma. So the construction of the bridge is made by using steel which required the cutting process to design the structure.
Many companies provide facilities to their customers for plasma cutting at a high level. So, the users can easily find the benefit of their services.
What are the uses of Plasma Cutting for Home Improvements?
Plasma cutters also play an important role in cutting material for home improvements like stairs, gates, walls, windows, electric work, and piping.
To enhance the beauty of your house you can develop the artwork on the wall. To design the walls, and cut the meta in pieces, the plasma is needed.
The windows, doors, and gates increased the security level of the house so, manufactured the gates at a great level there is a need for plasma.
The kitchen and bathrooms need the countertops to enhance their look and need the plasma to cut the edge and rough sides.
In-home construction has multiple works that require the plasma to cut the metal like wires, pipes, and others.
Wrapping it Up!
A plasma cutter is a tool that is used to cut material for various uses that have features like higher productivity, durability, precision, and high quality. These plasma cutters are available in different sizes you can buy according to the requirements of the project.
Plasma can cut the metal to an average thickness of 25mm with a faster speed 150 mm is the maximum allowable thickness. Manufacturers use the plasma for different purposes and their projects.
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