Plasma cutting machines have been staples of fabrication workshops for decades – offering cost-efficient and quality cutting solutions for conductive metals such as steel, stainless steel and aluminium. In recent years, however, there have been a number of advancements to various aspects of the plasma cutting process – further refining the art.
1. Oxyfuel cutting
Oxyfuel cutting has always been an alternative solution to use with plasma cutters and is great for thicker metals in particular. Oxyfuel usage has become more efficient in recent years with internal igniters that simplify things and the addition of integrated height controls that keeps the torch out of the way. This is opposed to old-school optional height controls and igniters that were nowhere near as efficient as current iterations.
A lot of systems are also automated with servo controls providing smooth and dependable movements. Additionally, there are no supplementary tools required to change the tip of the torch. When it comes to CNC technology – the improvements are even greater with ratio adjustments being automatically made to account for the flow rates for various thicknesses.
2. CNC integration
The obvious innovations and advancements here are that CNC technology no longer relies on archaic methods such as tape drives to be operated. Cutting edge CAM software is behind some of the best CNC plasma cutters that guarantee fully automated cuts with a variety of parameters able to be manually set (or even automatically adjusted by the computer itself to compensate for the data it already has).
Another key benefit of modern CNC technology is the connectivity which allows capabilities such as controlling, diagnostics and troubleshooting to be done remotely. And, because it is run by software, the plasma cutter’s scope of capabilities is multiplied considerably allowing for different and more complex processes to be automated.
3. Power source
The specifications and source of power for plasma cutters have improved drastically over the decades. Old systems typically ran on 600 amps of power and used a tungsten electrode. Nowadays, 300-amp systems – that use hafnium electrodes – are considered the norm. These translate to more accurate and faster cuts whilst still being far more efficient than older, larger-amp systems.
In fact, Durma’s PL-C plasma cutter uses a 260-amp Hypertherm system that is highly efficient and built to last. The HPR260XD also allows for further upgrades if any further power or performance is required for the plasma cutter. It also boasts high levels of versatility when it comes to marking, cutting and bevelling on surfaces such as carbon and stainless steel (amongst others).
4. More gasses to work with
Technological advancements have meant that more gasses can be used with plasma cutters. This gives operators more options to consider from both an energy and economic standpoint as well as overall efficiency. These include:
- Methane; and
5. Additional systems
A modern plasma cutter is more than just a cutting machine with several optional secondary systems being made available such as drills, mills, tube cutting tools and bevelling tools – turning the machine into a central hub for machine fabrication. The best part is that these secondary features aren’t just tacked on to increase the size of the features list – but are actually properly incorporated and highly efficient.
This means they can be effortlessly integrated into a process (especially if it’s a CNC plasma cutter) – mitigating additional handling steps. The end result is some cost-efficient bonuses for smaller workshops as it essentially eliminates the need for dedicated machines such as drills that may only be needed in small capacities.
6. General upgrades
In terms of broad advancements – the overall quality of plasma cutting machines is excellent nowadays with sturdy construction and more efficient power sources and processes. This means your machine can endure for longer and – with the right maintenance practices – could enjoy a very fulfilling and long life. And, since many modern plasma cutters are easy to clean (such as the PL–C) this is made even easier. In addition to this, you can enjoy high definition cuts with varying thicknesses that were previously unachievable.
Are you looking for plasma cutters?
ACRA Machinery is your go-to source for all your sheet metal machinery needs including new and used plasma cutters from trusted brands such as Durma. Not sure what you’re looking for? Chat to our friendly staff who can help you find the best solution. We also provide on-site maintenance and repair services to ensure your machine is kept in the best shape possible.
If you’d like to know more about our plasma cutting machines – then please get in touch with us by calling 03 9794 6675 or filling out the contact form on our website.