With the advances in engineering and plasma cutting technology, today plasma consumables have a very long life. However, several businesses are unable to exploit the savings in costs as the consumables wear out very quickly. In this article, we will be discussing some of the reasons why consumable parts wear out very quickly and do not last as long as they should.
Consumables Changed at Wrong Times
Manufacturers may face that they are using consumables excessively and one of the main reasons for this is that they may be changing the consumables too soon before it is really needed. Several manufacturers change the consumables during every change of shift or after a number of pierces. However, consumable wear really depends on the application. For instance, all-copper electrodes must be replaced when the depth of the hafnium pit reaches 0.040 of an inch and when the hafnium pit of silver electrodes reach 0.080 of an inch.
Plasma Torch Too Close or Far from the Workpiece
For long consumable life, it is essential to maintain a proper pierce height. If the pierce height is too close to the workpiece, then the spatter will be blown back into the torch while piercing and this can damage the nozzle. If the piercing is done too high, this may cause excess arcing and can result in premature damage to the nozzle. The correct pierce height that should be maintained, is around 1.5-2 times the plasma torch to work distance.
Arc Stopping at the Wrong Time
You must always ensure that the plasma torch remains over the workpiece when the cutting stops. If you stop the plasma arc abruptly when it runs off the workpiece, this may cause an excess amount of hafnium to be blown out which results in the loss of around 10-15 arc starts.
Low Gas Supply
One of the common causes of excessive consumable wear is the low flow rate of the gas, which can cause immediate and catastrophic damage to the nozzle due to the uncontrolled pilot arcing inside the orifice of the nozzle.
Insufficient Coolant Flow
Premature consumable wear can be prevented if the coolant flow is proper. If the coolant flow in the plasma torch is restricted, it results in the excessive buildup of heat, which causes the consumables of the plasma cutter to wear out more quickly.
Lack of a Proper Cable Connection
For the proper working of the plasma torch, it is essential to have a good electrical connection. If the electrical connection is good, the plasma arc transfer occurs very quickly, in less than 100 milliseconds. However, a poor electrical connection can cause a delay of around half a second or more that causes misfiring of the arc, resulting in unnecessary consumable wear.
By following a few steps and making sure that all the above aspects of the plasma cutter are in proper working condition, as a manufacturer, you can prolong the life of the consumables by reducing wear and this can help in long-term savings for your business.