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The Different Types of Plasma Cutting

When it comes to plasma cutting, there are three different types to choose between. These are air plasma cutting, mixed-gas plasma cutting and hi-def plasma cutting. Each one comes with its own advantages and disadvantages and choosing the right one is a matter of understanding the strengths of each as well as the requirements of the job.

plasma cutting In each case, the type of cutter refers to the type of consumable used. At Stoney CNC we are proud to offer each of these types of plasma cutters and we have a more in-depth look at all of them here.

Air Plasma Cutters

With this type of cutter, clean and dry air is used to generate the plasma stream. This can simply be sourced from the workshop the equipment is located in so long as it is well ventilated and the plasma arc’s shape is formed by the opening on the torch nozzle.

Mixed-Gas Plasma Cutters

With this type of cutter, a combination of different gases are swirled together in order to form a plasma stream. The difference with this type is that it is better suited to cutting particular types, thicknesses or densities of material. Usually, an argon-hydrogen mixture is utilised and it is ideal for cutting through stainless steel and aluminium. The resulting cut face is both clean and high-quality. When it comes to material thickness, this combination of gases is necessary for anything that exceed 25mm. Additionally, the argon-hydrogen mixture is also perfect for plasma gouging any material.

Hi-Def Plasma Cutters

Hi-def is the last type of cutter. All cuts produced by this type of cutter are superior to other types. They require a special type of nozzle design in order to make a focused, narrower arc resulting in higher energy density. This means that the cut quality will always be higher on any material up to 90mm. There will be a narrower kerf, better cut edge angularity and this type of cutter works faster than the others. It is expected that cuts made with hi-def cutters will be accurate to sub tenths of a mm. This naturally lends itself to automotive processes which was the intention when these cutters were developed. Hi-def plasma leaves cut holes that are round and do not taper at all. The edge of each cut is almost perfectly square and is free from small pieces of waste material and dross. All of this leads to the highest levels of productivity.

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