Plasma Cutter

Learn more about plasma cutting equipment

Steel is an extremely durable, reliable and adaptable material. As such, cutting through it and customizing its lengths and thicknesses is an extremely difficult but important task. The process by which experts cut steel and other metals of varying thicknesses is called plasma cutting, and is often performed with a device called a plasma torch.

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To do this, an inert gas (or compressed air) is blown out at an extremely high speed. At the same time, an electrical arc is formed that helps turn the gas or air into plasma, which is hot enough to melt metal and blow waste material away from the cut. The result is a clean and precise cut and a sheet of new metal that can be used to build heavy-duty structures and machines like construction cranes, trucks, cars, skyscrapers and bridges.

How Plasma Cutters Work

Plasma cutters come in all different shapes and sizes, but the way in which they work always remains the same: they send a pressurized gas such as nitrogen, oxygen or argon through a narrow channel where there is also a negatively charged electrode. When power is applied to that electrode and the nozzle is touched to the metal, a circuit is created. That in turn leads to the creation of a powerful spark between the electrode and the metal, after which the inert gas effectively passes through the channel. The spark heats the channel, a reaction that creates a stream of incredible heated matter called plasma that operates at an astounding 30,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Moving through the channel at an incredible pace, the plasma cutter cuts through metal by reducing it to molten slag.

Plasma cutting equipment is now essential for many different industries, perhaps none more so than the auto manufacturing and construction sectors. Big companies like Ford and General Motors use this equipment to mold body panels and engine blocks to exact specifications. However, smaller companies can also own plasma cutters, either by purchasing a used plasma cutter or a CNC plasma cutter. The latter is a smaller and more affordable alternative that allows businesses to use plasma cutting technology for purposes like cutting signs, custom car and truck components, and creating elaborate sculpturing on furniture, mantles and other home pieces.