A look at the evolving world of the plasma cutter

Posted on 1 May 2015 by The Manufacturer

Plasma cutting machines are used to cut strong metals like steel into a variety of shapes and lengths using a combination of a plasma torch and other integrated components.

This is a process that has been pivotal in the modern area for a number of different industries, from manufacturing to construction.

In response to the need for a powerful and precise metal cutting device, plasma cutters have arisen as the main solution for breaking down and shaping steel and other metals into beams and usable forms that can aid in the construction of buildings and other infrastructure.

Plasma cutting over the decades

The concept of plasma cutting came into existence in the 1960’s when plasma welders realized and promoted the benefits of cutting molten plasma rather than cutting the hard form of the metal with another metal object, which creates chips during cutting and produces surfaces that are less precise and more prone to faults.

As computer technology began to enter every industry in the decades that followed, digitally aided CNC (computer numerical control) plasma cutters started to become available in the 1980’s and 90’s. In short, a CNC plasma cutter, such as the ones you can buy from retrosystems.com, heats up the surface of the metal until it softens into a molten state, and then uses highly accurate computer-aided cutting tools to separate the metal from itself with no running, chipping, or other issues.

Now that you know a little a bit about the history of plasma cutters and how they work, let’s take a closer look at three key ways newer plasma cutting machines have been evolving the industry in key facets:

Increasing cutting precision year after year

Plasma cutter manufacturers are continually trying to increase the precision capabilities of the gear boxes, ground cross axis linear ways, and AC servo motors/amplifiers that power today’s cutting edge plasma cutters. When it comes to comparing the quality and price of a plasma cutter, the ability to cut in large, yet minutely precise motions, is a key feature that should be considered. Without precision, even the most durable and efficient plasma cutter would be considered useless in most manufacturing and construction applications, which require the utmost accuracy.

Stronger and more reliable motors, amplifiers, and rail systems

Today’s plasma cutters are designed to be used in the same way factory machines are used – for years on end and for many hours consecutively. Plasma cutter manufacturers therefore strive to equip their products with stronger motors and amplifiers, both of which are key components behind a CNC plasma cutter’s heating and cutting capabilities.

A wider range of sizes and applications

Finally, the makers of plasma cutters are continually expanding their offerings to include larger and more powerful size configurations to accommodate the ever-expanding scale of construction in the 21st century. Plasma cutters are available in lengths ranging from 50 feet to hundreds of feet, letting metal workers tackle almost any steel cutting job imaginable using a single machine. CNC control makes it easier for the operator to create precise cuts in any scenario with the help of intelligent machine guidance.