Often the subject of sci-fi movies, plasma plays an important role in many modern industries and technology. Without it, we would be without neon signs, plasma TV screens, spacecraft heat shield technology, and an understanding of fusion energy. Since the 1980s, plasma cutting has been widely used in the sheet metal manufacturing industry, yet very few people really understand how plasma cutting actually works. This week, we take a closer look at the finer points of plasma cutting technology and why it is so popular in the sheet metal manufacturing industry.
What is it?
The fourth fundamental state of matter alongside solids, liquids and gases, plasma is the most abundant matter in the universe. A plasma stream can be created by heating or exposing a gas to a strong electromagnetic field that varies the number of electrons and creates positive or negative charged particles (ions). A plasma stream is characterised by charged particles which are closely packed together to influence more than one nearby particles, this means that the interactions in the bulk of the plasma than at the edges, and the plasma is quasineutral. In a plasma stream, the gas kinetics also need to be dominated b electrostatic interactions.
How does it work?
In plasma cutting technology, an electrical stream of plasma is passed through the worked material and forms an electric circuit which includes a grounding lamp. The plasma stream is created by blowing compressed gas through a focused nozzle. The gas is ionised by an electrical arc which is created by an integrated electrode and the work piece. Once the plasma stream is created, electricity runs down it and melts through the working material, whilst the fast moving compressed gas blows the molten metal away, creating a clean cut.
What are the advantages of plasma technology?
In the sheet metal fabrication industry, plasma cutters are known for their cost effective operation, user friendly operating systems, fast production speed, versatility and adaptability. Plasma cutters can be adjusted to cut through both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and thicknesses ranging from gauge to 150mm.
ACRA stock state of the art plasma cutters from leading manufacturer Durmalazar. To learn more about our capabilities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling 03 9794 6675.