Plasma cutting is used to cut any electrically conductive metal and alloys including aluminium, copper, nickel alloys, titanium, steel and stainless steel. It provides precision cutting with a smooth finish on most materials of varying thicknesses. The process was originally developed to cut materials when the oxy-fuel process was not suitable.
With current guidelines becoming more stringent on the use of oxy/fuel gas cutting, plasma is fast becoming the preferred method of cutting metals and their alloys.
The Plasma Cutting Process
The basic principle of plasma cutting is that the electrical arc formed between the electrode and the workpiece is constricted by a small nozzle. The high velocity ionised gas (typically air with the new systems) combines with an electrical current to create a high temperature plasma arc which is in excess of 20000˚C. The plasma creates heat the workpiece thus melting the metal, and the velocity of the gas blows the molten metal away severing the metal. Normally the item to be cut remains stationary while the plasma torch is moved.
The intensity of the plasma is dependent on the amount of electrical current applied i.e. energy, gas pressure, the design of the nozzle orifice shape and diameter. Plasma cutting is one of the best procedures for a novice to master as the plasma cutting machinery is relatively easy to use.
Advantages of Plasma Cutting
- Fast & precise cutting – resulting in increased production and high quality cuts.
- Easy to use – requires minimal operator training making it very user friendly.
- Versatility – can cut a variety of metals and thicknesses including non-linear cuts and works in all positions.
- Safer than similar methods – does not require an open flame or flammable gas, and results in a minimal heat-affected zone.
As with any procedure used to cut metals, plasma cutting requires you to take safety precautions as it can be dangerous and there are a number of hazards associated with it. Therefore before undertaking any welding job, ensure you have the necessary and correct protection.
If you require our assistance regarding any aspect of the plasma cutting process please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0114 243 0555.