Plasma arc cutting requires high precision to guarantee that high-quality cutting edge is achieved. Inspection and the mode of cutting play an important role in the overall set up of the plasma industry. Thus said, robust preparation, cutting, and maintenance can help tame rogue problems that most operators face.
Below are important insights that may aid operators in avoiding problems encountered when dealing with a CNC plasma router.
1. A Regular Change of Consumable parts
A regular change of oil is essential to avoid replacement costs associated with purchasing new systems. Likewise, a regular change of consumables is cost-effective compared to replacing the entire torch. Continuous use of finished and obsolete consumables affects the normal arcing in the plasma component leading to eventful torch failure.
What are the common signs of obsolete consumables? Poor cut quality is the obvious sign of worn-out parts. A day to day visual inspection is recommended by experts. Replacement should be done when the nozzle oxide residues appear and there are signs of gouging in the inside and outside of the nozzle.
Inspect the pitting of the electrode element to check whether the electrode is overused. The user guideline helps to check on whether it’s ideal or not to change the electrode. In case you are using oxygen gas, the pitting should not surpass a depth of 3/32 inches. Nitrogen and argon should be above 1/8 inches. Gas swirls with signs of cracks, burns and dirt particles should be changed promptly.
2. Use the Right Components for each Job
The selection of consumables depends on the plasma gas used for each job and the cutting amperage. The operator’s manual helps in defining the different types of consumables suited for various types of cutting. Failure to use the prescribed consumable shortens the life and quality of components.
Every part in the system must be run at the correct amperage, with the nozzle being set at 95%. A low amperage level leads to an awkward cut while excess amperage reduces the nozzles life span.
3. Proper Set-Up of the Torch
By following the recommended care practices, torches should last long. Proper set up of all components is paramount to ensure that all parts align together with ease. Proper alignment guarantees the best electric contact. Additionally, the efficient flow of gas and coolant is achieved by following a proper setup procedure.
Proper cleanliness is advocated and the torch threads should be kept clean. The seating base should be contamination-free and if you are making a change cycle, ensure that consumables are kept in a clean place to prevent dust and dirt contamination.
4. Check for Proper Gas and Coolant Flow
A daily check for the pressure of the gas and coolant is highly recommended. Insufficient flow leads to improper cooling of consumables. This can adversely affect the involved parts a great. A fluent and programmed gas pressure is of importance to maintain the cutting arc. Hard starting is a common problem associated with excess gas pressure where the torch fails to function when all other conditions are working well.
Cleanliness is vital and the plasma gas must be kept dry and clean always. Instances of contaminated gas lead to early torch failure and short consumable life. Compressed systems are the most likely to be affected by contaminated air.
5. Avoid Continuous use of O-ring Lubricant and Anti spatter Compounds
Use only the required quantity of O-ring lubricant to brighten up the O-ring. If you are applying antispatter compounds, ensure that shields are removed completely.
Ideally, too much of anything causes harm and this is the case for these two products. Avoid applying grease and other lubricants not recommended. Torches do not require lubrication to function.
On the same note, lubricants are good conductors of electricity which can damage the torch. Excess use of either compound clogs the swirl rings and attracts unwanted metal dust. All these anomalies cause all sorts of arcing problems.
6. The Torch should not be used as a Hammer
Torches should never be used as a replacement for a hammer. Do not hit hard any unwanted parts with the torch. Every mechanic appliance should be used for the particular purpose created for.
7. Do not Stretch the Arc
Further extension of the arc more than the set limit will lead to premature failure of the torch. Always ensure the edge starts are used instead of piercing starts. Whenever you are doing an edge, start the plasma arc with nozzle orifice facing the edge of working material.
Piercing should be adhered to by setting the standoff twice the cutting height. You can also set it at the utmost height that allows for arc transfer. Having a correct timing of the arc-off signal prevents extensive stretching at the end of the cut.
8. Take Precautious Measures for Torch Collisions
Crashes common in workplaces can damage the quality of a torch. To prevent torch collisions with work materials, the cutting system should be programmed to move around the material while making cuts. Crashes can be also be alleviated by torch height sensors which correct variations. In case there is a collision the breakaway devices mounted on the torch prevent any harm from happening.
9. Keep a Correct Standoff
A standoff is determined by how thick the working material is. Maintenance of the correct standoff helps the arc to flow with ease. Too high or low standoff level damages both the material and torch.
Some cutters are precisely made to be hand-held. Here, standoff devices are used by operators to ensure efficiency is attained. For mechanized systems, you can manually or automatically maintain them through a height control.
10. Thorough and Routine Cleaning
Cleanliness is paramount for effective and efficient system operation. Check for any signs of contamination in the torch while ensuring the inside and outside torch threads are clean. Re-tape these parts for additional protection. Remember to always clean the nozzle and electrode seating location. For a perfect cleaning of the torch, use a cotton swab or hydrogen peroxide.
With proper operation and maintenance, the plasma arc system can help reduce expenses and hours spent in the workplace. Additionally, proper operation results in system durability and high cut quality. Regular maintenance reduces the time spent while cleaning metals before they can proceed to the manufacturing process.
These important insights will ensure you avoid all problems associated with plasma cutting. I thought you should know!