Elements to Consider in Choosing a Plasma Cutter

Blog | May 10th, 2021

Many manufacturing and processing plants have been maximising the capabilities of plasma cutters, especially when it comes to processing metal parts and products. Plasma cutters often work by sending an electric arc to a constricted opening through a gas, which may be air, nitrogen, argon, or others. Once the gas reaches high temperatures by the heating of the air, it then turns into plasma, which is primarily responsible for the cutting of metal workpieces into their intended shape, style, and form factor.

Plasma cutters have been utilised by many contractors and trade workers in producing parts and products that have precise cuts. Metal artists even use plasma cutters to generate artworks that have intricate shapes. Businesses that are involved in metal repairs, demolition processes, and recycling activities can likewise maximise plasma cutters in carrying out their daily operations.

When choosing a plasma cutter for your application, there are a wide variety of elements that you must consider. Some of these elements are the following.

Air Compressor

For a plasma cutter to work effectively, it should have either a built-in air compressor or an external compressed air supply. Both options can be great for plasma cutting procedures. However, choosing between them will mostly depend on the type of application you have. A plasma cutter that utilises a built-in air compressor can be pricey, but it can effectively provide more convenience when it comes to conducting small works at tight access areas.

Pilot Arc

A pilot arc is a type of cutting feature that has been integrated into more plasma cutters today. What is great about this specific feature is that it can yield a more stable arc and a longer service life. These benefits are possible since a pilot arc allows the cutting process to be carried out without letting the tip of the torch touch the workpiece directly. With the presence of a pilot arc, the need to clean the workpiece after the plasma cutting procedure will now be eliminated.

Metal Thickness

In choosing your plasma cutter, you should take note of the thickness of the metal that you will be cutting to ensure that it can be effective. You should also opt for a machine that can carry out the cutting of your workpiece. There are two cut ratings that you can consider when choosing your plasma cutter. A clean cut rating ensures that a plasma cutter can cut a workpiece at a faster and smoother rate, while a sever cut entails a cut that takes a long time and yields a rougher cut.

Cutting Torch

One more element to consider when choosing your plasma cutter is the length of the cutting torch. When dealing with a heavy machine in a large workshop, it would be best for you to opt for a longer torch to avoid any inconvenience. Torches that can fit the shape of your hand, alternatively, can work best if you will be cutting and processing workpieces for a long time.

There are more factors to consider when choosing your plasma cutter. To know them, just contact us at McKean’s Sheetmetal Fabricators. We are a Melbourne-based sheet metal fabrication and steel supply company that is committed to superior customer satisfaction by providing the product you want at an agreeable price.


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