Category: metalworking

A Guide to Plasma Cutter

More about Plasma Cutter

plasma cutter

What is plasma? Plasma is the fourth state of matter and we commonly think of matter having three states. They are a solid, a liquid, and a gas.  Matter changes from one state to the other through the introduction of energy, for example, is heat. Water will change from a solid (ice) to its liquid state when a certain amount of heat is applied.  If the heat levels are increased, it will change again from a liquid to a gas (steam).  Now, if the heat levels increase again, the gases that make up the stream will become ionized and electrically conductive, becoming plasma.  A plasma cutter will use this electrically conductive gas to transfer energy from a power supply to any conductive material, resulting in a cleaner, faster-cutting process than with oxyfuel.

Plasma Arc

The plasma arc formation begins when a gas such as oxygen, nitrogen, argon, or even shop air is forced through a small nozzle orifice inside the torch.  An electric arc generated from the external power supply is then introduced to this high pressured gas flow, it produces in what is commonly referred to as a “plasma jet”.  The plasma jet immediately reaches temperatures up to 40,000° F, quickly piercing through the workpiece and blowing away the molten material.

The components of plasma are Power supply. It converts single or three phase AC line voltage into a smooth, constant DC voltage ranging from 200 to 400VDC.   This DC voltage is responsible for maintaining the plasma arc throughout the cut.  It also regulates the current output required based on the material type and thickness being processed. Arc Starting Console produces an AC voltage of approximately 5,000 VAC at 2 MHz which produces the spark inside of the plasma torch to create the plasma arc.

Plasma torch with its function is to provide proper alignment and cooling of the consumables.  The main consumable parts required for plasma arc generation are the electrode, swirl ring, and nozzle.  When you already know about it, what would you like to do using the function of plasma? Check it!