Plasma Cutting General Information

Plasma, the 4th state of matter, is used to cut through electrical conductive metals. Plasma differs from the other three phases of matter, (solid, liquid, and gas), because of their molecular energy levels.  Plasma is made up of electrically charged particles which are influenced by magnetic and opposing electric fields. Plasma occurs naturally on our planet in the form of auroras, lightning, and flames. Plasma can be manmade as well such as T.V.s, plasma balls, and neon signs. It is heated and is formed of columnar beams, which gives lighting its jagged shape.


How does this apply to plasma cutting? Plasma cutting uses the ionized gas beams to transfer energy from an electrical power source through a torch. From this process, the material is cut into a specific type of pattern. The plasma power supply comes from an exterior and portable storage container. The power is passed through an electrode at the top of a torch and uses a clamp to connect to the working piece. Simultaneously, the compressed gas is passed through the torch, touches the plasma at the end of the nozzles and fusion occurs. Once fusion occurs, cuts along the workpiece are noticeable. The process happens very quickly and cannot be slowed down. The welder or cutter using a hand held torch must work quickly to incur the results wanted. In a mass producing industry, a robotic arm carries out the torch process at rapid speeds, to create precise parts at a constant speed.