So What Exactly Is Plasma Cutting And How Does It Work?

plasma cuttingOne of the most effective way of cutting metals such as steel, aluminium, copper, and brass is by using a plasma cutter. Utilised extensively in the metal fabrication industry it’s a great way to cut difficult metals into perfect lengths, shapes, and sizes. While that’s all well and good, what exactly is a plasma cutter and how does it work?

In order to properly explain how it works it makes sense to first of all know what plasma actually is. In science terms plasma is known as the ‘fourth state of matter’. We commonly imagine matter to have 3 basic states: these are liquids, solids, and gasses. Matter is interchangeable often switching from one state to another when some type of energy is introduced. For instance when heat is added to water and it’s boiled, the water turns from a liquid into a gas (steam). However when the heat is magnified greatly, the gases that make up the steam become ionised and electrically conductive. This is plasma. In essence a plasma cutter transfers energy from any power supply and turns it into a plasma jet which can cut through just about any substance giving a cleaner faster cut.

The plasma begins life inside the plasma cutter as a common or garden gas such as nitrogen, oxygen, argon, or even compressed (shop) air. The gas is forced at high speeds through a small metal orifice in the tube or torch, resulting in what’s known as a plasma arc. This arc can reach temperatures in excess of 40,000 degrees fahrenheit allowing the arc to quickly pierce through just about any metal with intricate detail, as it blows away any remaining molten material.

Common uses for Plasma Cutters

As already stated plasma cutters are commonly used in the fabrication industry for cutting out precise shapes and intricate parts for machinery. However they’re also used in other industries including:

The manufacturing industries – Uses include custom made ‘in house’ projects that are often controlled by computers connected to a robotic arm. HVAC ducting is one example and car manufacturing is another.

Metal Repairs – In addition to cutting, a plasma welder can also be used for metal repairs. It has the ability to cut away any broken or badly joined welds which can then be rejoined or welded again properly. Examples include trailers, suspension systems, and hitches.

Demolition and recycling – Plasma cutters can make easy work of removing metal blocks, sheets, and pipes during the demolition process. They’re far cleaner than saws and can carry out the work in half the time.

At Metro Steel we use plasma cutters to ensure that precise cutting is guaranteed, so if you have a fabrication project needing exacting measurements you can rest assured that we have it covered. For further information on how we can help, why not contact us on 07 3204 1000 today and talk to our experienced friendly team. Alternatively if you’re in the Deception Bay area of Queensland, you can always pop into our Kabi Circuit fabrication shop and talk to us in person.