Medium duty plasma cutting systems: Required equipment and consumables

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Medium duty plasma cutting systems: Required equipment and consumables

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When cutting becomes a regular operation in a fabrication company, at least a medium-duty plasma cutting system is required.

On the workshop floor, it becomes obvious that a portable cutting machine is not enough anymore. Perhaps the lead time or quality of a cutting service provider does not meet the workshop’s expectations or needs.

For that reason, in this post, we are going to explain to you what you need to know to own your medium-duty plasma cutting system.

Nevertheless, to better understand this topic, let us consider the history of plasma cutting.

The history of plasma cutting

In mid-1950 the plasma cutting system was created. The principle, the same as today, is that a superheated gas, or plasma jet, can cut through metals.

But still around 1960, the predominant cutting system was oxyfuel.

Back then this cutting process using oxyfuel used to be made by skyful operators, using very basic machinery to control the torch head in linear tracking rails.

Even when some progress was made to plasma cutting machinery, by using paper-made G-codes to control the torch movement, oxyfuel kept the people’s preference for a long time.

The history of plasma cutting
The history of plasma cutting

Plasma cutting starts to shine

By mid-1970 the cutting industry started to change its landscape. Finally, plasma systems started to have low costs and more operators were able to handle cutting machines.

Also, it must be said that some manufacturers made a big effort to educate the public about the advantages plasma cutting systems have.

The 80’s came...

The decade of 1980 was a good one for plasma cutting. More low-amperage systems were available, so the power consumption could be lower.

At that time some advances in torch electronic control were introduced, introducing the use of numeric control. This gave more reasons to the industry to take the leap to plasma cutting.

For example, as the PC and icon-style interfaces were growing in popularity, machinery cutting systems were gaining in ease as well. More and more operators became familiar and experts in the use of automated plasma cutting systems.

…And after that the 90’s

In the nineties, high-precision and lower-cost plasma cutting machinery were made available in the market.

More and more operators were becoming familiar with and proficient in the use of automated plasma cutting systems.

Soon, many industries were able to afford advanced cutting systems for their production processes.

Plasma cutting current state
Plasma cutting current state

What about now?

Nowadays, high-precision plasma cutting machinery is abundantly available and its cost is lower than ever.

Almost all parts of the cutting system are now digital and can be managed through software. There is a huge variety of this software – some very specialized – that allow manufacturers to set instructions, make efficient use of material, and control many functions to reduce the cost of each cut part.

In addition, more and more operators are willing to take control of such systems.

Therefore, plasma is now well established as the most affordable and reliable of all the cutting systems available.

What can be considered a medium-duty cutting system?

Most people classify plasma cutting systems as light, medium and heavy-duty.

In general terms, a handheld plasma cutting machine is considered light-duty.

A mechanized cutting system, built-in a strong structure, composed of one or more cutting machines, could occupy the heavy-duty slot.

Finally, a small cutting table powered by some plasma cutting machine would be a medium-duty system.

But that classification is not a general rule for plasma cutting manufacturers.

For the sake of this post, as quoted before, we are considering a medium-size cutting table powered by some plasma cutting machine as a medium-duty one.

Now if you are thinking about getting a medium-duty plasma cutting system, it is because you need it for your business operations. So, let’s consider some of the main uses for plasma cutting systems. Perhaps this could help you have more reasons to switch from your current cutting system to a more powerful one.

What is plasma cutting intended for?

The main purpose of plasma cutting is to create metal parts or figures or to cut the sheets to fit a shape. While flame cutting only cuts carbon steel, plasma can cut any type of conductive metal. In addition, plasma cuts with higher speed and quality than oxyfuel.

Plasma cutting can be used in several industrial applications, home repairs, and even hobbyist jobs.

Plasma cutting is used for fabrication shops of all kinds
Plasma cutting is used for fabrication shops of all kinds

Mainly plasma cutting is used for fabrication workshops, automotive repair, and all kinds of restorations.

Also, it is common to find plasma cutting operations in salvage and scrapping shops, construction sites, and more related businesses.

How to execute the cutting process

Like any other industrial process, operators must follow some protocols. The experience offers some guidance on the correct way to do it, however, with new technologies, any operator can cut the parts as an expert when using the Hypertherm controls and software, such as EdgeConnect and ProNest.

What type of maintenance should be applied to a cutting table?

Medium duty cutting systems usually are composed of a power unit, an air compressor, and a cutting table.

Those are the same equipment required for a heavy-duty cutting system, but with different capabilities.

But despite how strong that equipment may look, they need constant and careful maintenance to avoid stops and, as a result, to lose money.

The problem with work stoppages is that production will inevitably be delayed. That is why it is better to plan preventive maintenance on a regular basis.

How to apply preventive maintenance to a medium-duty cutting system?

The best way to maintain your equipment working all the time will be with a preventive and predictive maintenance plan offered by Codinter, and with the use of 100% original consumables and spare parts for all its components.

Our qualified personnel has the knowledge, certifications, and experience in each of the components of the cutting system, including its control system, movement, and cutting process to keep you up to date when it comes to maintenance.

Within the preventive maintenance process, there is also the need for a series of tasks to be followed in the lubrication and cleaning of some system components. This guide to preventive maintenance and proper use of system consumables will be given by Codinter staff. By fully following these instructions, the operator will have the necessary guidance to keep your investment protected.

For a medium-duty cutting system to work almost perfectly, it is recommended that at least the CNC and the power source are of the same manufacturer. Most manufacturers produce both parts. Another option is that they have a high degree of compatibility.

For example, Hypertherm manufactures the Powermax series, which can work in good sync with the EdgeConnect CNC, also theirs.

We have the experience of installing and servicing such equipment, with an Extreme cutting table for many of our clients in countries such as Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Central America, and other South American countries.

Equipment for medium plasma cutting

Among other equipment, for a medium-duty cutting system to work properly, a cutting table, a power source, and a CNC are required. Let’s review some of these needed parts.

We recommend Hypertherm plasma power units because they have proved to be reliable, high-tech, and durable equipment. For a medium-duty unit, depending on your needs, you could be getting a Powermax65, Powermax85, or a Powermax105.

Regarding the cutting table, we also have options for you. For systems of this type, we have successfully installed the Extreme Practicut 4×4, 4×8, 8×4, and 5×10, which are leading models in the CNC medium cutting industry in Colombia, Central America, and the Caribbean.

We have several options for the CNC. In most cases, this depends on your very needs. So, we prefer to understand better your production needs to find the right CNC for you.

We encourage you to contact us immediately to discuss your cutting needs and, based on that, to configure a precise solution, customize for you.

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