Plasma Arc Welding (PAW) is an off-shoot of the Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding process. Much like TIG, it uses a nonconsumable tungsten or tungsten alloy electrode.
Many industrial operations benefit from having both systems in their facilities. While an oxy-fuel system like TIG remains a commonly used method for many applications, PAW continues to gain in popularity as the technology advances and the equipment becomes less expensive.
The primary difference is that with PAW, the electrode is recessed in a nozzle that allows the arc to be constricted. The plasma gas gets ionized in the constricting nozzle and exits the nozzle at a high rate of speed. Another advantage of having a recessed electrode in a nozzle is minimized contamination of the electrode. That’s why an electrode can usually last for an entire production shift without needing to be reground.
Plasma Arc Cutting (PAC) is a thermal process that is primarily used to cut bulky sections of electrically conducive materials at high velocity.
Choosing between plasma and oxy-fuel cutting tools means analyzing what needs to be cut on a daily basis, including the thickest metal that needs to be cut.
If jobs consistently require cutting thicker metals, the time and money saved by quickly cutting through thick metal with an oxy-fuel system makes a difference. On the other hand, if precision cutting of stainless steel and aluminum is important, a plasma arc system is usually recommended.
If you’re considering investing in plasma cutters or plasma welders 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, call or visit our showroom to learn more.