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what is plasma cutting

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What is Plasma Cutting?
26th October 2018


Plasma is the utilisation of electricity to expand and ionize gas through space to create heat, so with a plasma cutter, you’re able to slice through electrically conductive materials by means of an accelerated jet of hot plasma.

So how does it work?

The ionization of gases causes the creation of free electrons and positive ions among the gas atoms. The gas therefore becomes electrically conductive with current carrying capabilities. This is what we call a plasma. So put simply, plasma cutting is the process of melting, and thus cutting metals of different thickness and composition such as steel and iron using plasma technology. The Plasma cutting system is a process that uses an optimised nozzle orifice to constrict a very high-temperature ionized gas so that it can be used to melt and sever sections of electrically conductive metals. The plasma arc melts the metal simply and swiftly, whilst the high velocity gas removes the molten materials so you have a clean cut every time.

What should you look for in a plasma cutter?

Plasma cutters are CNC cutting machines that are specially designed for cutting through thick metals, such as stainless steel and aluminium. They are also widely used to cut sheet metal and plate metal, however, it’s important to choose the right system for your requirements. Here at CTR Lasers, we offer three CNC plasma cutting machines; the MasterCut (and Master Cut Compact), MSF and PipeCut.

The Master Cut machines are reliable but also versatile as they can be used in many different settings, from small workshops to big factories. We’ve had many clients choose these cutters for plasma or oxyfuel precision metal cutting, including pipe, profile and elbow cutting, as well as marking. The MSF Plasma Cutter has been designed specifically for cutting metal materials using Fibre laser technology, or a combination of fibre laser and plasma. Finally, the PipeCut Plasma Cutter, as the name would suggest, is designed and manufactured to cut pipes utilising high-definition plasma as well as standard air plasma sources. This machine also boasts excellent extraction efficiency that is afforded by an overhead extraction system.

What are the main advantages?

For many businesses, investing in a plasma cutter makes perfect sense and that’s because they come with plenty of unique advantages. Cutting speed is something we talk about a lot on our website, and with a plasma cutter you can work significantly faster than you would using a traditional, manual torch. We’ve already touched on the fact that these systems are ideal for cutting thick metals, but they’re also incredibly easy to use and rather safe too. For example, this technology uses gas that is not highly flammable, eliminating some of the safety hazards that exist with other gas cutting methods. In addition to this, plasma cutting machines keep the surface of the materials cool, even though they do operate at high temperatures.

So whether you’re looking to increase productivity, efficiency and cost effectiveness in your workplace, a plasma cutter may be well worth the investment!