7 Benefits of Metal Plasma Cutting

Published on August 12th, 2020

The plasma cutter is one of the most fine-tuned, broadly used, efficient, and versatile tools for slicing even heavy and thick materials quite easily. Here we will explore what metal plasma cutting is and which materials can be cut with a plasma cutter.

Plasma cutting is a process used to cut steel, stainless steel, and aluminum using a plasma torch.  Put simply, gas is blown at a high speed from a nozzle while an electrical arc melts the metal and compressed air to blow away the molten metal. This leaves a cleaner cut than oxygen-acetylene torch cutting. The process can be dangerous, so eye protection must be worn at all times. There are several benefits of plasma cutting. Here we will summarize seven of them: 

Image of metal plasma cutting machine in action.

Metal plasma cutting uses a plasma torch and leaves a cleaner cut than oxygen-acetylene torch cutting.

  • Increased Cutting Speeds

Plasma cutting, when used on metal up to 2” thick, is capable of speeds twice as fast as cutting by oxyfuel. The thinner the metal, the more benefit this added speed provides. Thinner metals allow for cutting speeds that are up to 12 times faster than oxyfuel. Cutting more parts in less time translates directly to improved operations and increased productivity.

  • Diminished Dross

If cuts are made using oxyfuel, a consolidated dross (oxide slag) is created by the chemical reactions between the steel and oxygen. This material adheres to cuts and always requires chiseling or grinding to be removed. 

By contrast, high definition plasma cutting employs electrically charged high-temp gas that melts metal and blows the molten metal away from the cut. Since minimal dross is created and the process itself removes excess metal, chiseling or grinding is typically not necessary.

  • Raised Inside Piercing Speed

Many cutting applications require inside the piercing. When you use oxyfuel to pierce a ½” thick piece of steel, the process may take more than half a minute because metal demands preheating to about 1830 degrees Fahrenheit (1000ºC). Alternately, high definition plasma pierces the same ½” metal piece in two seconds, which significantly increases your shop’s productivity rates.

  • Eliminated Plate Warping

High definition plasma technology’s fast cutting speeds dramatically reduce the amount of heat that is transferred to the material. Using high definition plasma cutting avoids plate warping of thin (18 gauge to ¼”) materials – a problem commonly affecting materials that are cut more slowly by oxyfuel.

  • Expanded Versatility

Plasma cutting technology utilizes an electric arc process capable of cutting any electrically conductive material. Stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and all non-ferrous materials are included in this list. Because of this, plasma can cut a stack of multiple plates with ease. You can’t do this with oxyfuel.

Image of man overseeing steel plasma cutting.

Our steel plasma cutting is carefully monitored by preeminent experts.

  • Plasma Cutting System Applications

Plasma cutting systems allow simple or complex shapes to be cut into materials like common steels and aluminum. Any material that conducts electricity can be cut with a plasma torch. Some materials, such as those that create toxic fumes, can be cut with plasma cutting systems that incorporate venting, gas selection, and other special features. The advantages offered by plasma cutting systems include rapid, repetitive cutting with a high degree of accuracy. Plasma cutting replaces tedious, multi-step cutting and drilling processes, which improves efficiency by saving hours of layout work.

  • Plasma Cutting Software

CNC plasma cutting systems work in concert with software packages such as AutoCAD and Turbo CAD, using a universal export (interchange) format called DXF. Drawings created in a DXF format can be easily imported into most plasma cutting systems.

Types of Steel Plasma Cutting Systems

CNC steel plasma cutting systems are typically divided into two types: standard and high definition. While both metal plasma cutting systems operate using the same technology described above, high definition plasma cutters feature a different torch design and gas feed. The high-definition plasma cutters give one to three degrees of cut bevel, virtually no dross, and make oxide-free cuts on mild steel. The standard definition plasma gives three to five degrees of cut bevel, dross that will need to be cleaned before welding, and makes oxide-free cuts on only stainless and aluminum.

California Steel Services, the Plasma Cutting Company for Your Formed Steel Products

We welcome you to view the various kinds of plasma cuts that our plasma cutting company offers so that you may decide what fits your needs. As you will quickly learn, metal plasma cutting has a wide range of purposes in the steel construction sector. A plasma cutter is efficient, accurate, and affordable. And it can be used on base plates, squares, gussets, and custom products. Today, steel plasma cutting is now so advanced that it can be controlled with the touch of a screen. Plasma cutting gas, like nitrogen or oxygen, is then blown through the nozzle to give precise cuts.

Image of machine at steel plasma cutting company.

Our steel plasma cutting company offers a wide range of cuts for base plates, squares, gussets, and custom products.

Get Metal Plasma Cutting Today

Now that you are familiar with the metal plasma cutting process and what California Steel has to offer in terms of the most advanced technology and most precise cuts, feel free to contact us today to talk more about your needs. 

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