In the metalwork industry, there are many state of the art tech used to perform different functions. One of these functions include metal cutting. Devices used to cut conductive metals are known as plasma cutters. These types of metal cutting devices are used to cut metals in complex and simple shapes. Plasma cutters can cut holes, create bevel edges, gouge, and make marks. Besides being cost-effective, a plasma cutter is also a great alternative to other metal cutting techniques such as laser, oxy-fuel, and water jet cutting. Plasma cutters are majorly used in many industrial processes that deal with metal. You also use it to make DIY items made from metal materials. However, you need to use the right flow meter sensor with the right plasma cutter.
What is Plasma?
Plasma is formed when gas is heated to extremely high temperatures. When this happens, the electrons in the gas molecules break free from the nucleus. Plasma, which is the fourth matter state, is formed out of this reaction. To cut metal using plasma cutting, you need to direct the plasma jet to the workpiece you want to cut.
Now that you know what plasma cutting is let’s now look at the pros and cons of using plasma cutters.
- Plasma cutting is useful when cutting metal that can’t be cut with the oxy-acetylene cutting method. These types of metals include stainless steel and non-ferrous alloys.
- Plasma cutting produces high-quality cuts due to high precision when cutting thick or thin metals.
- Since the equipment is lightweight, users can easily carry it around to use manual metal cutting.
- Just like other metal cutting systems, the plasma cutting can also be automated.
- Metal cutting in different and complex shapes is made easier and faster using CNC plasma cutting machines.
- Plasma cutting can cut metal materials of about 6” thick.
It is not the best option when you want to cut metals that don’t conduct electricity. If you want to cut such metals, then the best option will be laser or water jet cutting methods.
There is a high risk of electrocution when using plasma cutting to cut metal. The reason being that the process uses high power output and voltage of about 110 to 150VDC. To prevent electric shocks, it is advisable to use personal protective equipment such as rubber gloves and welding gloves. It is also wise to make sure that you are working in dry areas and checking all cables before starting the metal cutting process.
While working with a plasma cutter, the process produces severe infrared and ultraviolet rays. These rays are harmful to the skin and eyes. To protect your eyes, you should always wear a face shield or safety glasses with proper lens shade. The skin is protected against molten metal and fumes by wearing proper PPEs. These include a welding apron, welding gloves, and safety shoes. In short, the operator needs to cover the entire body.
In the plasma cutting process, harmful gases are emitted. To prevent being affected by these gases, the workshop should have sufficient ventilation to allow air circulation.
Applications of Plasma Cutting
In plasma cutting, different gases are used based on the metal that needs to be cut. In cutting carbon steel, the type of gas used is compressed air or oxygen. In cutting stainless steel, inert gases such as nitrogen or argon are used.
For greater performance when using plasma cutting, the dual gas system (plasma and shielding gas) runs on separate plasma and shielding gases. For example, combinations such as Air/Air, O2/Air, N2/Air, N2/CO2, Ar-H2/N2. Besides boosting performance, shielding gases are also used to cool torches.
How to Select a Plasma Cutter
Before choosing a particular plasma cutting system, you need to consider these crucial factors:
- Manual or mechanized
You need to know whether you will use the plasma cutter by hand or intend to cut metals using a CNC machine.
- Cut Quality and Thickness Needed
Before settling for a plasma cutter, you need to consider the needed thickness and cut quality. You need to match the cut quality and thickness required with the right plasma cutter. You will get plasma cutting capabilities in the manufacturer’s manual or guide.
Many types of equipment used in the metalwork industry, such as plasma cutters or a flow meter sensor, are quite costly, and if they are not carefully taken care of can get damaged. Plasma cutters require regular and proper maintenance to work well. That is all we hard to share with you today concerning plasma cutters. We hope that the information we’ve provided about plasma cutters was useful.