There are various features and functions when it comes to a plasma cutting system. As a fabricator, you must decide on the plasma cutter that is best-suited for your requirements and preferences depending on your fabrication unit’s capabilities and your previous cutting experience. A very important decision to take when deciding on the right plasma cutting system for your fabrication shop is if you want a downdraft table or a water table.
A water table has a sealed frame that holds water inside the table. The water level is usually just below the material surface, which allows the water to absorb the smoke and fumes produced while cutting. Another major advantage of cutting underwater is that the parts can be handled easily as they cool down quickly.
Advantages of a Water Table
A water table is not as noisy as compared to a downdraft table and it reduces the amount of heat produced. It does not need a dust collector and it does not generate arc flash, which can be dangerous. However, a water table is restricted to cutting with only oxyfuel and plasma and is best suited for cutting mild steel.
A downdraft table has an exhaust fan that extracts the dust and fumes produced during cutting via the plenum at the bottom of the table. The smoke and fumes are filtered and sent outside from the table through the duct work.
Advantages of a Downdraft Table
A downdraft table also has its advantages. It can cut various metals and you can expand a downdraft table if required while also being easier to clean.
The selection of a cutting table depends on the specific cutting requirements of the fabrication unit depending on the normal cutting applications you undertake. However, over time, these requirements can change. The outlay needed for a plasma cutting system can be significant and when you make such a large investment, you would like to make that investment last and not outgrow it quickly. So, you must focus on buying a plasma table that is versatile.
According to your cutting needs, you may decide to go in for a downdraft table, a water table or a hybrid table. The table should also be versatile enough to accommodate the computer stand, controller and X-axis cable. So when you are evaluating your options and making an investment for your metal fabrication unit, the table should not only have versatility in the configuration but should be adaptable to your requirements too.