Basic steps to Improve your plasma cut quality

The sphere of plasma arc cutting is expanding fast with additions of new areas for its applications. What was first developed for the cutting of stainless steel and aluminum is now widely being used for cutting copper, brass, and other conductive metals as well.

With high speed and precision cutting to its advantage, plasma cutting calls for the right techniques and skills to improve the appearance of the cut. Here are some lessons:

1. The arc cutting should be in the correct direction

The gas (air) in the plasma torch helps control edge squareness with its unique swirl pattern. You will get the squarest cuts on the right side when you move the plasma torch forward. The cut direction must be checked and adjusted if required. The swirl of gas will be in the clockwise direction if you use the standard consumables. There are some high-end industrial plasma torches that use reverse consumables with an anti-clockwise swirl of gas. These are used in mirror image cut situation.

2. The cutting process should be correct for the type of material and the thickness of the material.

You must refer to the instruction manual for the proper cutting process according to the type of metal, the thickness of the metal, desired quality of the cut and your productivity goal.

Also check for other parameters like gas pressure, arc voltage, torch-to-work distance, and cutting speed to select the right cutting process. Ensure use of the correct consumables for the job. If you’re using a dual gas plasma system check for the right shield and gas type.

3. Make sure that the consumables are not worn out.

Check and replace the worn out consumables before the process. Replace both the electrode and the nozzle at the same time and do not overlubricate the O-rings for best performance.

4. The direction of the plasma torch should be square to the work.

The workpiece must be leveled and the plasma torch should be positioned square to the workpiece from the side. The workpiece should be checked if it is warped or bent.

5. The plasma torch should be held at the proper height.

The distance between the torch and the work must be correct and the arc voltage should be controlled through a voltage regulator. The distance between the torch and the work can affect the cut angle. If the distance is low the cut angle will be negative and vice-versa.

6. The cutting speed shouldn’t be too fast or too slow.

The cutting speed can affect the dross levels. If the speed is too fast it will cause high-speed dross and vice-versa. You must select the appropriate cutting speed. The dross levels can also be affected by the surface finish and type of the workpiece. As the workpiece gets heated up it causes more production of dross on the cut.

7. The power delivery should be smooth.

Make sure that there is no leakage in the power delivery system. You must use proper regulators and high-quality consumables.

8. The torch must not vibrate.

Ensure that the plasma torch is fixed properly in its position and there is no chance of vibration.

The above vital steps will help you to increase your plasma cutting efficiency with an improved appearance of the cut.

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