Plasma Arc Cutting (PAC) is a thermal process that has been used for nearly half a century, and for good reason – PAC provides a number of advantages compared to other cutting methods.
Choosing between plasma and oxy-fuel cutting tools means analyzing what needs to be cut on a daily basis, including the thickness of the metal.
If jobs consistently require cutting thicker metals, the time and money saved by quickly cutting through thick metal with an oxy-fuel system should make you lean in that direction. On the other hand, if precision cutting of stainless steel and aluminum is vital to the job, a plasma arc system is usually recommended.
While plasma cutting equipment is typically higher priced than other cutting methods, the total cost of working with a plasma cutter may end up being less compared with other cutting options.
Plasma systems usually cut faster (especially with no heating of the workpiece required) and more accurately (meaning less finishing is needed), which saves you time, money, and materials.
Most handheld plasma systems run off of compressed air, so you’ll also save on fuel and fuel delivery charges compared to methods like oxy-fuel cutting. With no gas leaks to worry about, plasma cutting is also safer.
A plasma cutter also offers some distinct advantages on thin materials – like a smaller heat affected zone and less warping – when compared to oxy-fuel cutting.
Advances in technology have yielded plasma equipment that provides more cutting power and thicker cutting capacity – 1.75-inches (44 millimeters) or more – making it good enough for all but your thickest cuts.
While plasma cutting remains excellent for cutting stainless steel, plasma is effective at cutting any electrically conductive metal, including mild steel. And plasma remains more effective at cutting painted, dirty or even rusted steel, which makes it perfect for heavy equipment repair, automotive restoration, farm equipment maintenance, and many other tasks.
Besides cutting, plasma systems can also gouge, pierce and bevel electrically conductive metals of all types. Plasma systems can be used on X-Y cutting tables, robotic arms, or with pipe cutting and beveling tools, among others.
If you’re considering investing in plasma cutters for your operation, why not speak with the experts at Hocon Industrial Gas? They’ll be glad to help you with your purchasing decision. Contact us request further information.
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