Plasma cutters use an electric current to superheat a gas that is then used for cutting different types of materials. This gas is pushed under pressure through a nozzle with a very small opening that ensures the super-hot gas flows in a very narrow stream. This makes it much more precise for cutting.
With the development of this technology and the information technology systems that support it, the production methods that use plasma cutting have become much more advanced and efficient. This method is able to be used in large production activity. It is able to be operated by robots, which creates a very high level of accuracy and consistency. Another benefit of this method is that plasma cutters are a relatively clean tool that is able to cut through most materials without creating much waste or debris.
CNC (computer numerically controlled) plasma cutters are able to be completely automated and are used substantially for processes where large numbers of shapes are being cut. With the greater accuracy and precision now available with more advanced plasma cutters, it is possible to cut very complex and refined shapes. CNC Machining equipment is often specifically designed for using computers adapted to run the cutting machines. It ensures that the equipment is able to produce a very consistent cut and constant speed of production while maintaining suitable quality levels. In addition, the equipment is able to run for extended periods of time.
With CNC cutting, the shapes are arranged on the computer screen and then the machine is able to use these electronic templates to be able to cut the materials automatically, without any requirement for a technician having to undertake the process or touch the materials. This is also a benefit for the safety of personnel.
Plasma cutters are able to cut most types of metal and they are suitable for cutting through a range of thicknesses. They are also good for cutting through thinner metal materials. As there is on a relatively small heat transfer, because of the smallness and speed of the cut, there is less likelihood of any warping of the material.
Portable plasma cutters are powerful enough to be used by contractors and maintenance workers. They are able to slice through quarter inch steel and quickly and cleanly cut through old or damaged welds, which is useful for metal fabricators as well as mechanics and mechanical engineers. They are also suitable for use by plumbers and refrigeration mechanics in cutting quickly and cleanly through metal pipes.
Plasma cutters are suitable for use in the arts. Sculptors are able to use them to cut very intricate shapes in many different types of metals, as well as other materials.
Another area where plasma cutters are able to be used is in the production of decorative metal security doors and window safety screens. Because of their accuracy and precision, they are also very effective for cutting metal signs.