For over 50 years, plasma cutting systems have been used to cut metal and this method of cutting provides several advantages over other cutting processes. So, the point to ponder over is, why is this method of cutting not used by everyone? While some manufacturers feel that plasma cutting is too expensive, others feel that the process is too difficult to master. In this article, we will be discussing some of the myths and misconceptions related to plasma cutting and why it is, in reality, a productivity-enhancing process.
Myth #1: Plasma Cutting Is Expensive
It is true that plasma cutting systems are more expensive to buy when compared to other cutting tools. However, you must consider the fact that because of the faster cutting speeds and superior cut quality, manufacturers are able to save time, money and ultimately have considerable productivity gains.
In plasma cutting systems, there is no requirement of preheating the workpiece and this along with the faster cutting speeds aid the operators to complete jobs more quickly. Plasma cutting produces better cut quality, better edge quality and lesser dross, which means that operators can save on labour-intensive finishing processes.
Since most of the handheld plasma cutters operate with compressed air, there is no need for costly gas like oxyfuel cutting. Also, operators do not need to worry about the hazards of gas leaks and can create a safer work environment.
However, you can see significant gains only if you use a high-quality plasma cutting system. Although, there are many low-cost models of plasma cutters available in the market today, in the long run, the low-quality, outdated technology and poor workmanship may not be such a good deal, as you may not have the cost savings and productivity as expected. All of our tables at PlasmaCNC are built to the highest quality, ensuring longevity and cost savings to you in the long run.
Myth #2: Plasma Can Be Used Only to Cut Thin Materials
This may have been true 20 years back and you could not cut thicker materials with hand-held plasma cutters. However, it still had some benefits over oxyfuel cutting like less warping and a smaller heat-affected area. However, with the advancements in plasma technology, the belief that plasma cutting is suitable for only thin materials has become outdated.
Advances in consumable and plasma torch technology and power supply design has enhanced cutting power and plasma cutters can cut thicker materials, even up to 1.75 inches. In addition, duty cycles have increased and the size of the plasma cutting systems have shrunk. Today, plasma cutters offer superior cut quality and faster cutting speeds thereby resulting in cost savings and efficiency in productivity.
Myth #3: Plasma Can Cut Only Stainless Steel
The common belief is that plasma cutters can be used to only cut stainless steel, non-ferrous metals and aluminum. However, in reality, plasma can effectively cut any metal that is electrically conductive and is the most popular method to cut mild steel. Plasma can also effectively cut rusted, painted or even dirty steel and this makes plasma cutting an indispensable cutting process for automotive restoration, heavy equipment repairs, maintenance of farm equipment and a lot more.
Myth #4: Plasma Can Be Used Only for Cutting
Plasma cutters are extremely versatile tools and can be used for purposes other than cutting such as piercing and beveling of metals of varied sizes, types and shapes. Some plasma cutting systems can be converted from hand to automated cutting and vice versa by just changing the torch and/or some consumables. Plasma cutting systems can also be used on cutting tables, on robotic arms, with pipe cutting and beveling tools or with a track burner for long, straight cuts. Plasma cutters can also be effective gouging tools and offer the advantage of lesser noise and smoke when compared to other gouging tools. Thus, plasma cutting systems can be used for many applications other than just cutting and this can help operators to derive greater value and ROI from their plasma cutting equipment.
Hence, we can see that plasma cutters are in reality extremely versatile tools that have many other applications other than just cutting, they can be used to cut many different materials of varied thicknesses. Although an expensive initial investment, plasma cutters can help in increased efficiencies, productivity and cost savings in the long run.