What to remember when plasma cutting – what parameters are the key?
Plasma cutting is one of the most effective methods of machining aluminum, stainless steel and other electrically conductive materials. The process is characterized by both high efficiency and an extremely precise cutting edge, it also allows the separation of materials of much greater thickness than other methods. Despite the emission of large amounts of gases and smoke, this process is also recognized for its speed and low temperature influence on the material being cut.
In order for the plasma cutting to run smoothly, it is necessary to ensure a few key parameters of the entire process. The first is the intensity of the supplied current – the higher it will be, the more the thickness and speed of machining will increase. Higher values may require the use of larger diameter nozzles, which will not perform well in operations requiring precision. Too high an intensity in relation to the thickness can also lead to deformation and damage.
Cutting speed is also an important parameter. Too low will cause the arc to extinguish and re-ignite, which significantly accelerates the wear of the electrodes and nozzles, as well as the amount of remaining residue after cutting – metal and slag. If the cutting speed is too high, the precision and efficiency of the machining itself may suffer. The cut surface then becomes too oblique and generous amounts of dross are formed at the edges.
The distance of the torch from the material being cut is also important for the correct course of plasma cutting. If we bring it too close, we can damage the cutting nozzle and melt the upper edge of the surface being treated. If the distance is too large, we must take into account the formation of large amounts of residues, which quickly cool down, making them more difficult to remove. Some manufacturers of handles recommend the use of special spacers that determine the correct distance and facilitate the work of the operator.