Equipment – Getting Started & Next Steps

Industrial Plasma Cutter: How It Works

A plasma cutter may be a tool that not everyone is familiar with, but it is something that’s considered essential and indispensable in the industrial setting. But because you’re here, maybe you have some kind of responsibility related to learning what a plasma cutter does. Anyway, you can’t learn a thing or two about how this tool works without first learning what plasma really is.

You probably have heard your science teacher in school years back about plasma being the fourth state of matter, right? In typical levels, heat will transform liquid into gas. But if the same heat is once again increased, it will eventually ionize gases, making them electrically conductive. In this scenario, plasma is produced.

So how does the plasma cutter use this process for industrial purposes? In order for the tool to work, it will be utilizing the electrically conductive state of gas in order to transfer some energy coming from a power supply to the conductive material. As a result, there’s a faster and more capable cutting process produced compared to the usual cutting process using oxyfuel.
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The plasma cutting system is generally made up of several different components. The three major components are that of the power supply, arc starting console, and the plasma torch. The power supply works by converting either a single or three phase AC line voltage into a constant DC voltage from 200 and up to 400 VDC. The DC voltage in turn acts as the one that maintains the plasma arc in the entirety of the cutting process.
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Meanwhile, the arc starting console will be producing an AC voltage equivalent to 5,000 VAC at 2 MHz, which in turn produces the spark inside of the torch so as to produce the plasma arc.

The plasma torch on the other hand is intended and designed to provide proper alignment and cooling of the consumables. The primary consumable parts we are talking about are the electrode, swirl ring, and nozzle, all of which are intended for the plasma arc generation.

There may also be times when additional shielding cap is needed in order to improve the quality of the cut. You should know as well that all the parts will be held together using inner and outer retaining caps.

Lastly, if you happen to be the one given the responsibility to purchase a plasma cutter, your two primary options are the precision plasma cutting system and the conventional type. As their respective names imply, the conventional plasma cutter does the basic cutting jobs, but if you are looking to make the sharpest, finest, and highest quality cuts, you must go for the precision plasma cutter.