Plasma cutting is a creative and effective way to cut through sheet metal. The technology involves plasma which burns through the metal and cuts sheets with precision and speed. That’s why the popularity and implementation of plasma cutting are growing.
The technology has been around for decades and is now widely used in industries. What’s interesting is that the global plasma cutting machine market is expanding at a CAGR of 7.3%.
So, if you are thinking about buying a plasma cutting table, you are making the right choice. To make things easy for you, we have written a short guide on choosing the right plasma cutter. After reading this article, you’ll be able to make an informed decision.
What Is Plasma Cutting?
This is a process of cutting that involves the use of a plasma torch. During cutting, gas blows from the nozzle at a high speed and metal is melted by an electrical arc. After that, the molten metal is blown away by compressed air.
Plasma cutting technology is used to cut materials, especially metals, which are conductors. These include:
- Stainless steel
Plasma cutters have an edge over oxygen-acetylene torch cutting in terms of speed and accuracy. They leave a cleaner cut and that too with precision.
Why Do You Need a Plasma Table?
We cannot talk about plasma cutting without mentioning plasma tables. You can improve the productivity and efficiency of the process when you have a plasma table. This is the perfect addition that can help you save time and material.
That’s why manufacturers in the construction, engineering, and agricultural industries prefer using a plasma table.
Features to Look For When Choosing a Plasma Cutter
Now let’s talk about the things that you must look for in a plasma cutter. We recommend you should educate yourself before investing in this technology.
Below are the key features that you must pay attention to while buying a plasma cutter.
Pay Attention to Duty Cycle
This is the feature that describes the duration for which you can continuously use a cutter. However, you should keep in mind that an increase in voltage will cause a decrease in the duty cycle. Simply put, you should buy a plasma cutter with higher duty cycles.
Compare the Voltage Options
Most manufacturers offer plasma cutters with three different voltage options. These include:
- 115V voltage cutter
- 230V voltage cutter
- Dual voltage cutter
The first i.e. 115V cutter is for beginners and those who don’t need much power. In simple words, these are good for home users and can be plugged into household power outlets. On the other hand, you’ll need a generator to run a 230V plasma cutter.
A Dual voltage cutter can be used depending on the availability of voltage. This is an ideal option for buyers who have deep pockets.
Consider the Cut Rating
The cut rating refers to the thickness level of metal that a plasma cutter can cut. Similar to the voltage, the cut rating also has three options. These include:
- Sever Cut
- Quality Cut
- Rated Cut
The rated cut means the cutter can cut with a rate of 10 inches/min (IPM). A quality cut machine can cut through thicker metals but at a slower speed. The maximum cut rate is severe cut which means slow speed and may not offer a clean cut.
Don’t Forget Torch Length
This is one of the most important factors to consider while choosing a plasma cutter. However, the choice is entirely up to your work needs. A cutter with a short torch length is ideal for home use and small spaces.
But if you don’t watch to move, consider buying a cutter with a longer torch. This is also useful if you are getting a cutter for manufacturing.
Ensure It Has a Pilot Arc
A pilot arc allows you to cut metals without striking the tip of the torch with metal sheets. This is a feature that is present in most plasma cutters. However, the low-priced models often don’t have a pilot arc.
So, if you are a budget user, we recommend you don’t ignore this feature.
Don’t Compromise Over Reliability
Plasma cutters are usually costly, so make sure that you get the best value for money.
The first thing you should look for is the brand name. Plasma cutters from trusted brands are normally made of quality materials. They can stand the test of time and will deliver accurate results.
Choose the Right Air Compressor
A plasma cutter requires compressed air to work efficiently and produce the plasma. That’s why most cutters either get an external compressed air supply or have a built-in air compressor. This is where you have to make a choice when choosing a plasma cutter.
Both types of cutters are equally good and deliver almost the same outcome. However, if you are buying one for small jobs, we recommend you buy one with a built-in air compressor. This will help you complete your job quickly without affecting precision.
Keep in Mind the Cut Quality
The cut quality represents the ability of how cleanly a cutter can cut the sheet. A quality cutter will offer a smooth appearance after cutting and the ends will appear sharp.
Benefits of Using Plasma Cutting Table
Now that you know how to choose a plasma cutter, let’s talk about the advantages of a plasma table. Having a plasma table can offer you the following benefits.
Provides Speed and Precision
This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why manufacturers prefer using a plasma table. This makes things easy especially when you have to cut sheets in different sizes and shapes. Having a plasma table enables you to cut metals at different angles.
Another reason is the speed with which you can cut metal sheets on a table. As compared to the traditional way, you can cut sheets up to 200 inches per minute (PIM) on a table.
Reduces Material Waste
The reduction in waste material is one of many benefits of using a plasma cutter table. A higher level of precision means you can get the most of your material. You’ll be able to cut as accurately as possible, which will also reduce the cleaning cost.
With a plasma table, you can easily cut the materials according to your requirements. You can adjust the table height keeping in mind the thickness of the sheet. This will allow you to cut different materials like copper, aluminum, and steel with ease.
We hope you are now aware of the features that you must look for in a plasma cutter. You should consider the cut rating, torch length, voltage, duty cycle, and cut quality. Also, buy a plasma table if you need more precision and speed for plasma cutting.