In metalwork, different systems are used to make work easier in the workshop or production section. To properly manipulate metal, powerful devices are used. Among these equipment are plasma cutters. Plasma cutting is among the latest technologies used to cut, weld, or shape materials made from metal. If you are not familiar with what plasma cutting is and how it works, we will start by defining it for you. Matter can be in one state at a time. It can be gas, liquid, solid, or plasma. Plasma is the fourth state of matter. Let’s use water as an example to help you understand better what plasma is.
When water is frozen, it is in its solid-state. When the temperature changes or when it is heated, it turns in the water, its liquid state. When heated further, water changes to steam, a gas state. Steam can also be heated further to form the fourth state of matter, which is plasma. When in this state, the gas which is iodized can conduct electricity. A plasma cutter uses a gas that is conducive when transferring energy to any conductive compound. When this happens, it melts and blows the workpiece at the same time. Plasma cutting is preferred over oxy-fuel because it is cleaner and leaves polished finishing when cutting metals of different thickness.
Using plasma cutting to cut or weld metal is straightforward regardless of what goes on inside the steam. The user only has to constrict the stream charged with electric current to make it flow through a small orifice. When this happens, it leads to blowing and melting of metal simultaneously since steam will be moving rapidly and densely. It will form what is called a plasma torch, which is used to cut metal. And that is why the system is known as a plasma cutter.
It is important to note that not all metals are cut using plasma cutting; only metals that conduct electricity. Such metals include stainless steel and aluminum. Other metals conduct electricity, but they won’t produce a high-quality edge due to their low melting points when cut with plasma cutting. Other examples of metals that can be cut using plasma cutting include plain carbon, titanium, and nickel alloys. Previously, plasma cutters were only used to cut metals that couldn’t be properly cut using oxy-fuel. In many instances, while using plasma cutting to cut metal, the workpiece is not moving. The plasma torch is moving while the user cuts the metal. Unlike other cutting devices, which are costly, plasma cutters are cheap. That’s why it is common to find several torches on a single cutting table. Let’s now move to flow sensors and how they are used with plasma cutters.
What is a sensor?
Sensors play a big role nowadays since they are used to monitor actions and reactions in many devices. A smartphone has a sensor that sends a signal when the screen is touched. A computer mouse also has an optical sensor that reacts when the mouse is moved from one point to another. A sensor is a device that measures physical inputs around an object.
In plasma cutting, flow sensors monitor heat and different programs to prevent collision or overheating. Since metal cutting tools cost a lot, installing flow sensors is always good to avoid breaking these expensive machines. In case there is any failure from one machine, the sensor will detect this and shut down other systems to avoid damages that can lead to huge losses.
Examples of Flow Sensors used in Plasma Cutting
100 Series Flow Switches
This type of flow sensor is used to measure water at 25 °C or 77 °F. Using it with other fluids besides water may not work as expected since water has a difference in velocity than other fluids. You can count on Proteus to deliver all kinds of glow switches and sensors based on the various fluid temperatures. This flow sensor can measure fluids in different ranges.
8000XHT Series – Extreme-Temperature Flow Meters
This type of flow sensor offers the best option for accurate measurement of liquids and fluids that transfer heat of about -60 °C to 200 °C. Proteus Industries is always ready to supply any kind of flow sensor for different kinds of applications.
To get the best out of a plasma cutter, it is always good to go through the manufacturer’s manual to understand how it works and which type of application it is meant for. You also need to use the correct flow sensor to avoid damages.