As a fabricator running a cutting operation, if you find that your plasma cutting is not yielding squared edges, it means that your plasma cutting system needs fine-tuning and, in this article, we will discuss how to adjust your plasma equipment’s operation.
When you are operating the plasma cutter, not only should you look for the visual cues, but also notice the audio cues — the machine running at constant speed produces a consistent pitch without any fluctuations in the frequency. If the pitch changes during the cutting process, the cutting parameters should be altered.
When the plasma cutter is allowed to roll around the corner, the amount of dross produced is limited and the loss of the corner is also prevented. It prevents the gas from blowing out the corner material that may occur if the torch is stopped while making the corner. When the cutting tool rolls around the corner, the process of cutting is continuous and the integrity of the corner is also retained.
Finding the Right Flame Height
The objective of plasma cutting is to produce an edge that is smooth and flat. There is a bevel produced if too much of material is removed from the bottom or top of the edge. So, you need to maintain the right distance between the plasma torch and the workpiece. If the plasma torch is very low, more material is removed from the lower part of the workpiece and if it is too high, more material is removed from the top. This also causes the production of dross, both at the top and bottom of the plate, which will require a finishing process.
Typically, plasma cutting tables come along with charts that provide instructions of how the setting of torch-to-work distance and other aspects such as cutting speed, pierce height, arc voltage, etc., work. The motion control also enables to maintain constant arc length in order to maintain the position of the flame so that it delivers the best cut quality.
Monitor Consumable Wear
It is a common occurrence where the operators run the plasma cutters until the consumables become so worn out that they do not deliver accurate cuts and there is a deterioration in the cut quality. By monitoring the arc voltage, the operator can monitor the condition of the consumables. The arc voltage starts fluctuating while cutting if the electrode begins to wear and if the operator is able to notice the changes while cutting, the electrode and the other consumables can be replaced immediately to prevent deterioration in the cut quality.
Check the Performance of the Cutting Table
Over time and with usage, the cutting table and other equipment do not perform as per the original levels and so, the operator should be attentive and ensure that the table performs as desired. The operator must check if the cutting speed of the table is as specified and if it is lagging, then the system should be fine tuned.
Modern plasma cutting systems do not require tuning as the motors can adjust to any changes in friction, inertia and the environment. Modern technology lets the torch make the required changes such as maintaining the pre-determined cutting parameters, adjusting the torque, etc.
While the option of employing a skilled plasma cutting operator is always preferable, it may not always be possible. More and more fabricating businesses are turning to newer technology to aid the plasma cutting process. Plasma cutting technology has improved and come a long way and it always pays to keep an eye on new advancements in technology that can help to make a huge difference in the cut quality and productivity of your cutting operations.