Whenever we speak about plasma cutters and the plasma cutting process, we come across terminology that is used commonly. In this article, we will look at frequently used terms and definitions.
Plasma Cutting: Plasma cutting is a process that is used for cutting metals. In the process of plasma cutting, an electric arc is passed along with gas under pressure through the orifice of a nozzle. This converts some of the gas into plasma which is superheated and can melt the material that is being cut.
Plasma: Matter exists in four states, the most common are solid, liquid and gas. Plasma is the fourth state of matter and is also described as superheated ionized gas.
Electric Arc: When inert gas is broken down electrically, a continuous plasma discharge or an electric arc is produced.
AC: AC or alternating current is an electric current where the electric charge flow reverses direction at regular intervals. Usually, power supplies use AC.
CNC: CNC or Computer Numerical Control is when a computer controls the plasma cutting system by means of programmed instructions or commands.
Dross: It is the waste material that is produced due to the oxyfuel or plasma cutting process.
Angularity: It is the measure of the cut angle produced by plasma cutting.
Kerf: Kerf is a slit that is made by the process of cutting.
Cut Surface: The plasma table holds down the material that has to be cut. This area is known as the cut surface.
Heat-Affected Zone: This is the portion of the material where the properties and microstructure are transformed due to cutting with intensive heat or the process of welding.
Lag Lines: Lag lines are the ridges that are produced on the cut surface.
Nesting: The manner in which parts are positioned in order to minimize waste material.
Zoned Downdraft: It is a vented surface provided in the cutting table, where the fumes and particles produced while plasma cutting is passed via a filter system in order to clean the air.
Water Table: It is a cutting surface where the toxic fumes and particles produced while cutting are submerged into the water so that the air remains clean.
Oxyfuel: It is a process of cutting that pre-heats the material to be cut to a point where a torch focuses a stream of oxygen through the material to be cut and burns it away.
Welding: It is the process in which metals are melted to join them.
Metal Fabrication: It is the process of building structures, equipment, and machines by cutting and assembling parts from raw materials such as metal.
Plasma cutting has many phrases and words that are unique to the industry and in this article, we have discussed some key terminology and definitions that will be a definite addition to your “knowledge bank”.