Plasma cutting methods are a widely used industrial means of cutting thick, heavy-duty materials that are electrically conductive. Plasma cutting is applied to materials such as stainless steel, steel plate, aluminum, copper and brass.
When plasma cutting first developed out of plasma welding, machinery was slow and expensive. Therefore, plasma was mainly employed for mass production jobs, cutting the same shapes on the same materials.
With advancements in the plasma cutting field, this method is now far more applicable across many different industries and is quick and cost-effective. Handheld plasma arc torches are used domestically in personal workshops and garages by hobbyists and artists. In comparison with other industrial cutting techniques, plasma arc cutting technology is a fairly comprehensible method and easy to learn and apply.
That said, consideration to safety is of upmost importance. Those who decide to handle plasma cutting on their own should be fully aware of all safety precautions and wear safety gear such as industrial gloves and goggles.
What is Plasma?
Plasma is a household term and is recognized by most as the ingredient that enhances the definition on television screens. In fact, plasma is an ionized gas in its fourth state of matter. In this state, plasma is able to conduct electricity effectively.
Adding electricity to the neutral gas creates plasma. When applied to electrically conductive materials with compressed air, this heated gas is capable of rendering streamlined and high precision cuts to durable materials.
The plasma is shot through a nozzle at varying diameters and as such, offers several advantages over other industrial cutting methods:
Is capable of piercing and gouging material
Can achieve high accuracy points
Can cut extremely durable materials
Does not require a "heat up” period
Will not warp or distort materials
Cutting time is quick
Plasma cutting techniques are superior to traditional cutting methods as they leave smooth edges on all materials. Previously used methods, such as sawing will leave ridged edges and uneven cuts. As well, methods that rely on intense heat, rather than gas and electricity, may cause some materials to become deformed or warped. In turn, more expensive materials must go to waste.
In addition, other metal substances were often used to cut metal in the past, producing metal chips and inaccurate cuts.
Plasma cutting applies a concentrated outlet of a massive energy force as a means of achieving high accuracy cuts and in turn, the cutting process is cost and time efficient.
Various industries rely on plasma cutting techniques, such as the engineering, contracting, construction, and mining industries. As mentioned above, more hobbyists are able to employ the use of plasma cutting in their own projects. In the sculpture and art world, many pieces have been successfully created using plasma cutting techniques.
Plasma cutting is a clean cutting process that produces high precision cuts to a wide range of materials and is considered to be one of the most efficient means of industrial cutting.