How to Choose the Perfect CNC Plasma Machine for Your Shop

CNC Plasma Machine

1. Introduction

With the increasing digitization, many manufacturing plants have adopted the evolving technology and CNC machining to manufacture high-tech products. CNC tools have become advanced, complex, and connected to automation. The new CNC technology helps businesses to create new products at reduced cost and with an ever-increasing arsenal of exciting materials. Smarter and more connected CNC machines require less dependency on human operation.

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The advanced machinery can operate on their own without the interference of humans. You just need to give the command to operate the machine. The unsurpassed performance, productivity, accuracy, and reliability make the high-tech CNC machine one of the most popular inventions.

2. What is Plasma Cutting Technology

Speaking in simple words, a plasma cutting machine is one of the most interesting and powerful tools of the 20th century. The basic principle of physics is used to harness the fourth state of matter and the machine works with magical results. Plasma cutting is a process that uses a high-velocity jet of ionized gas that is released from the constricting orifice.

The plasma machine generates high-velocity ionized gas to conduct electricity and then operate on a piece of material. Plasma cutting machine is commonly used for cutting metals for a variety of purposes. The plasma heats the workpiece and melts the material. The high-velocity stream of ionized gas blows molten metal thereby giving shape to the product and making the cut.

Plasma cutting is one of the effective ways of cutting different types of materials, both thin and thick. The hand-held plasma torch can cut up to 38 mm (1.5 inches) thick steel plate while computer-controlled torches can cut steel up to 150 mm (6 inches) thick material. Since the plasma cutting machine produces a very hot and localized cone-shaped tool to cut the materials, they are also used for cutting sheet metal in curved or angled shapes.

The plasma cutting machine emerged in 1980 as a productive way to cut sheet metal and plate. The conventional plasma cutting machines were large and inefficient than today. Earlier, the CNC plasma cutting machines were also limited to cutting patterns and parts in flat sheets of steel.

3. What is Plasma Cutting Machine used for?

The plasma cutting machine utilizes the heat of the high-temperature plasma arc to melt the metal material used for shaping. The high speed of this advanced machine is used to eliminate the molten metal from an incision. Plasma machines are controlled with CNC. CNC table allows a computer to control the torch head of the plasma machine to produce clean sharp cuts. Most modern CNC plasma cutting equipment is capable of multi-axis cutting thick materials enchaining the opportunities for complex welding that seems to be impossible otherwise.

The plasma cutting machine cuts out different shapes and designs of metal that are then combined to create artwork. Auto repair shops, salvage yards, and construction sites often use plasma cutting machines to cut sheets of metal. Depending on the experience of the user and tool of the cutter, very fine and precise cuts can be made.

Plasma cutting machine is designed to produce sharpest and best quality cuts that can be only achieved with plasma machine. A CNC plasma cutter uses a plasma torch to cut different types of materials in different shapes and sizes. Stainless steel, carbon steel, copper, aluminum, and brass are some types of metal materials that are used by plasma cutting machine for cutting. Plasma cutters often cut sheet metal or square/round metal tubes.

OMNI CNC offers the most versatile CNC plasma machine for smooth cutting and clean cuts. This computer-controlled equipment can create intricate as well as complex patterns on the surface of the material. CNC plasma cutting machine creates a prototype of the objects with the ability to cut and carve with precision. OMNI CNC plasma cutting machine that can effortlessly cut 5mm and 3 mm thick steel tubes and sheets.

4. Choose Right Plasma Cutting Machine for Your Facility

The quality of the cut is very important to determine the type of machine you would buy for your shop. Ideally, the good quality of cut makes better-finished products. The more precise, clean, and smooth edges that plasma cutting machine creates, less metal is wasted.

There are some factors that should be considered while choosing a plasma cutting machine for your shop/facility. Let us take a look at some of the factors underlined below:

• Thickness of the Metal Used

The sources of most of the plasma cutting machines are rated on their ability to cutting and amperage. If you cut ¼” thick material, you should consider a lower amperage plasma cutting machine. However, if the thickness of the metal is ½” then you should look for a high amperage unit. Every unit has an optimal range of thickness and it should match up with your needs. Talking in general terms, a ¼” machine has approximately 25 amps of output, a 1/2″ machine has a 50-60 amp output while a ¾” – 1″ machine has 80 amps output. So, you should match up with the requirements.

• Optimal Cutting Speed

When a plasma cutting machine, the manufacturers provide cutting speed for and the thickness of the metal is measured in IPM (inches per minute). If the metal most frequently cut is ¼”, a machine that offers higher amperages will be able to cut through the metal much faster than a low current unit. For production cutting, the thumb rule is to choose a machine that handles approximately twice the normal cutting thickness. Take, for instance, to perform for a long time, fast, quality production cuts on ¼” steel, you should choose a 1/2″ class machine. Like welding equipment, the duty cycle is considered as important for automated and continuous cutting. The duty cycle is the time that is consistently used for cutting before the machine or torch overheats and requires cooling.

5. How can the Plasma Cutting Machine Operates?

A plasma cutting machine is capable of cutting thick metal sheets in any shape and size. This computer-controlled machine gives instructions through a computer over the manual handheld plasma cutter. It is compatible with optional CNC parts and improves the accuracy, flexibility, and productivity. Regardless of the size and shape, plasma cutters function on the same principle and constructed on the same design.

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Plasma cutter operates with pressurized gas through a narrow channel. You will find negative electrodes in the center of the channel. The negative electrode gets power when you touch the top of the nozzle to metal thereby creating a circuit. The powerful spark is generated between the electrode and the metal. As the inert gas passes through the channel, the spark heats the gas until it reaches the fourth state of matter. This type of reaction creates a stream of directed plasma, approximately 30,000 F (16,649 C) and moving at 20,000 feet per second (6,096 m/sec), thereby reducing metal to molten slag.

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Most plasma cutting machines have a pilot arc that works on high frequency to conduct electricity through the air. This happens to be very smooth at first but with time high frequency can interfere with computers or office equipment.

In the past, the plasma cutting machines were very expensive and they were generally used for cutting huge metals but in recent times, the cost and size of the plasma cutting machines have dropped. This all-inclusive tool gives artists the ability to make bevel cuts, bore precise holes, and cut in just about any way it can be conceived.

6. Plasma Cutting Machine and its Maintenance

Before operating the machine, it is very important to take a look at measures of cutting machines, let us take a look at some of the measures:

  • It is very important to check the leakage of the air circuit system, plasma power supply, cutting torch before work.
  • Ensure that the cutting nozzle and the electrode are in order with the setting of the plasma machine
  • Check the gas pressure, air filters, air compressor, etc.
  • The power source and the gas source of the machine should be shut off when the machine is kept in the rest position for a long time.
  • Regularly oil the lifting mechanism of the machine such as ball bearing, screw, linear guide slider.
  • Check direct current motor brush every year. The excessive endurance on the DC motor will affect the performance of the motor and even pose damage to the motor.
  • Clean accumulated metal dust from the machine and ensure all air filters are clean.

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7. Portability and Durability are the Advantages of Plasma Cutter

The plasma cutters are interesting and among the most powerful tools of the 20th century. Many users operate a plasma cutting machine for numerous cutting applications. This machine can be easily moved from one place to another. Portability is one of the greatest advantages of this machine.

The plasma cutting machine has a high endurance/durability level. It can be used under hard environments and offer a protective cage around the air filter. Filters ensure that the oil is removed from the compressed air allowing the air easy to operate the machine.

8. Follow Warning to Keep Yourself Safe

Plasma cutting requires considerable voltage to establish the arc of 300VDC. The plasma cutting machine comes with a nozzle to protect the operator from this hazard, but if the machine gets started without nozzle in its place, a serious accident might take place. The nozzle provides safety and prevents the machine from starting an arc unless the nozzle is in its place.

Another safety measure that you shouldn’t overlook while working on a plasma machine is a pre-flow sequence. This feature provides a warning before the arc starts to operate. Besides, look for a machine that provides a three-second pre-flow safety which gives users advanced warning to make sure all body parts are clear of the nozzle before the arc initiates.

Furthermore, while operating the machine, it is advised to wear a helmet or mask to shield you from the sparks of the plasma, wear gloves and boots to protect yourself from getting injured.

9.Trial and Testing before Purchasing Plasma Cutter for your Shop

If you are planning to purchase a plasma cutting machine for your shop then it is advised to first try the machine before you buy. You can make test cuts on a variety of machines with the same rate of speed and the same thickness of the material used.

You can also test the plasma torch while cutting the material. Lift the plasma torch from the plate while cutting and see how far you can move the torch away from the workpiece and still maintain an arc. The longer arc would mean high voltage capacity and ability to cut through the thick plate.

10. Conclusion

CNC plasma machine is a viable option for not only large industries but also small companies. The advanced technology boosts productivity and cuts down the cost of production at the same time. While you evaluate the CNC plasma machine for your shop, it is advised to consider the aforementioned pointers and boost efficiency as well as the revenue of your shop.

Furthermore, ensure that you allocate funds for shipping, installation, operation, and maintenance of the machine. The more you take care of the maintenance of the machine; the lower will be the operating cost. Get the best range of plasma cutting machine for your shop now from OMNI CNC.

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