Plasma metal cutting machine dates back to the 1960s. It is a high-tech process that ionized gas with very high velocity to cut through electrically conductive materials such as metal sheets, aluminum, stainless steel, brass, copper, nickel, etc. The ionized gas is also known as plasma. This is after all, what the machine uses as a source of heat.
Unlike oxy-fuel cutting which cuts through metal by burning or oxidizing it, plasma cutting is not reliant on oxidation and can be used on non-ferrous materials that are usually resistant to the oxy-fuel method. The plasma cutting method is very precise and has a relatively higher velocity compared to other methods of cutting metal.
As a result of its efficiency and low cost, plasma cutting is widely used across industries ranging from industrial CNC applications to small shops where their materials are often welded. A plasma cutting machine can cut through thin metals and metals as thick as 3’’. They are widely recognized for their quality, velocity, and versatility.
The plasma cutting process is a thermal cutting process. The gas is heated up to a temperature above 20,000°C which forms an electric arc between the workpiece and an electrode. The electrode is securely placed in a gas nozzle cooled by air or water which contracts the arc to form a narrow, accelerated, high-temperature stream of plasma.
As a result of ion recombination, immediately the plasma jet strikes the workpiece heat is transferred which causes the gas to return to its initial state. The metal is melted by the transferred heat and the stream of gas blows away the molten material through the cut. All through the process, the surface surrounding the area being cut stays cool. As the plasma cutting machine travels along the surface, a neat, linear cut with little or no slag is produced.
Plasma cutting machine can be used in industries such as automotive repair and maintenance, shipyard manufacturing, construction sites, fabrication, etc.
Advantages of plasma cutting machine
Plasma cutting machine is very safe to use especially since it uses inert gases that are not flammable thus getting rid of the risk of fire hazards associated with gas cutting procedures.
- Increased cutting speed/velocity
Plasma cutting machines do not just cut material effectively but quickly as well. They require less than the time often used by other cutting methods.
- Minimal slag or dross
Slag or dross on the material is commonly associated with materials cut with oxyfuels. This problem is eliminated when the plasma cutting machine is used. It leaves no little or no slag on material after they are cut.
Plasma cutting machines are widely known for their precision. They can be used to draw curves, multiple cuts that are intersected by a precise beam.
- Versatility and compatibility
The plasma cutting machine is very versatile and can be used on a wide range of materials such as aluminum, copper, steel, titanium, nickel, iron, sheet metal, brass, etc.
Plasma cutting machine is very economical and cost-effective. It requires low maintenance and it is less expensive than other forms of cutting machines water-jet or laser cutting.
Plasma cutting machines are not only compatible and versatile, they are quite portable and would give one value for their money.