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What is Plasma Cutting?

One of the many processes used within the welding world is plasma cutting, but what actually is it?

In this blog, we answer that very question, as well as detail how it works, and when you might use it.

Plasma Cutting

Plasma cutting is a system or machine that uses plasma steam to cut a conductive work piece.

With various accessories that can be added, all plasma cutters will come with the following parts:

  • A power supply – This will provide a constant DC current of around 240-400 VDC. The output and kilowatt rating of the power supply will define the speed at which the machine can cut, and also the thickness of the material it’s able to cut.

  • Pilot arc starting circuit – This is a high frequency generator circuit that provides a high intensity pilot arc that will let the torch ionise the gas. The circuit generates a voltage of 5,000-10,000 volts.

  • Torch – This is the piece that contains the nozzle and electrode that maintains the plasma arc. It also provides cooling via gas or water to the nozzle and electrode.

How does it work?

When turned on, plasma steam is created by using gasses such as oxygen, argon, nitrogen, or even air, and driving them through a narrow nozzle.

From a separate power supply, an electrical current is added to the gas, ionising it and turning it into a plasma arc.

When directed at a workpiece, the plasma arc cuts the material by first melting it, and then blowing away the molten debris.

What can it cut?

A versatile process, plasma cutting can be used on a wide range of materials, including:

  • stainless steel,

  • aluminium,

  • mild steel,

  • copper,

  • carbon steel,

  • brass, and others.

What can I use it for?

Plasma cutting can be used for a wide variety of applications, such as:

  • hole cutting,

  • fine feature cutting,

  • gouging,

  • bevel cutting,

  • straight cutting,

  • extended reach cutting and gouging, and

  • marking.

Plasma Cutters at RentArc

At RentArc, our goal is to Keep Welders Welding.

No matter your project, you can rest assured that RentArc can provide the total package.

We have a wide range of leading welding equipment, including plasma cutters from the Hypertherm Powermax range.

Whether you need just one bit of kit for a short job, or a number of machines for a long-term project, chat to our friendly staff today on, or call us on 023 80 867 789.


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