Plasma Cutter Consumables - Regular Maintenance + Correct Parts = High Quality Cuts & Lower Costs
If you use or work with a plasma cutter, you know that plasma torch consumables require frequent change in order to keep both the torch and the operator working efficiently. The parts within the plasma torch must be inspected regularly and replaced when warranted to keep your plasma cutter safe, cost effective, and to perform the highest cut quality. Using correct and matching parts will make all the difference in cut quality and consumable life.
As the nozzle at the cutter's tip concentrates the gas and introduces a spark from the electrode, it turns the gas stream into plasma. Inert or semi-inert gases are used to shield the area where the plasma touches the metal. The force of the plasma is strong enough to blow the molten metal out of the cut. The plasma itself reaches temperatures as high as 30,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This kind of temperature and force takes its toll on the cutter's tip and components.
The most common plasma torch wear items are: the Electrode, the Nozzle, and the Shield. The Swirl Ring will last several changes longer when properly maintained.
The primary function of the electrode is to provide power to the plasma arc. Electrode wear is detected by examining the insert and measuring pit depth. Excessive electrode wear reduces cut quality and can result in damage to the plasma torch. Premature electrode wear is most often caused by a few common culprits, the most common being mismatched torch parts. Other contributors may include incorrect gas flow settings, gas leaks, moisture build-up and impurities in the plasma gas.
The nozzle limits the plasma arc to a specific diameter through a perfectly round hole in its' tip. It constricts the plasma gas, increasing its' velocity. The most common cause of nozzle damage is, once again, mismatched torch parts. Also, incorrect cut distance, cutting material thicker than the capability of your plasma cutter, and incorrect gas and amperage settings will cause premature wear. Vigilance on the part of the operator, regular inspections and using OEM parts will help extend the life of your plasma consumables. The electrode and nozzle should be changed as a set to keep cut quality at its very highest.
The shield surrounds the consumable stack, protecting the parts from damage. It contains an identical, perfectly round hole as the Nozzle. The most common problem associated with the shield is damage to the main orifice due to being blocked or clogged by dross or spatter. Dross can be usually be picked off. If the main orifice is out-of-round, it must be replaced.
The Swirl Ring:
The swirl ring creates and controls the swirling action of the gas as it flows around the electrode and nozzle. When inspected and cleaned regularly, the swirl rings will outlast many electrode and nozzle changes. A clogged swirl ring will hamper gas flow, decrease cut quality and shorten electrode and nozzle life. Make sure you match the appropriate swirl ring to the other plasma consumables in your torch.
Regular examination and care of all of the plasma torch parts will help to maximize the service life, efficiency and performance of your plasma cutter. Regular maintenance and replacement of worn consumable parts will help to keep your cut quality high, reduce scrap cost, reduce down-time, and lower your production costs.
Using genuine OEM consumable parts and accessories and matching them for your plasma cutter and application is the only way to ensure optimal performance and to maintain the highest cut quality. A low initial consumable cost is usually more expensive in the long run. Mismatched plasma consumables will result in shorter consumable life and reduced cut quality. Your plasma cutter's manual will specify the correct parts for various consumable configurations.
To achieve the highest cut quality and consistency, inspect regularly and use only genuine, matching plasma consumables that are manufactured to the highest standards.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AKS Cutting Systems is an authorized stocking distributor for Hypertherm and Kaliburn plasma cutter consumables. We carry the genuine OEM replacement parts for your cutting torch. Most plasma consumables are in-stock and available for same day shipping. We stock the OEM plasma cutter parts that fit and provide efficient, high-quality, predictable cutting performance.