plasma or laser cutting metalworking with sparks

How a Plasma Cutting Service Can Benefit Your Business

By 2021, the global plasma cutting machine market is predicted to reach more than a billion dollars.

And the market continues to increase year by year. Analysts predict that the market will have grown 7% during the four years up to 2020. The demand for plasma cutting worldwide is high.

There are a number of reasons why this demand for plasma cutting continues to grow. The advantages of plasma cutting are clear and if you require custom cut parts for your business, then plasma cutting is definitely something you should consider.

Read on to learn how a plasma cutting service can benefit your business.

How a Plasma Cutter Works

A plasma cutter works by making use of the fourth state of matter.

If you take a solid and heat it beyond its melting point, you get a liquid. Take that liquid and heat it even more and you get a gas. But if you then continue to heat that gas it will eventually enter the fourth state of matter: plasma.

Heating the gas eventually provides enough energy for all of the electrons to break free from their atoms, leaving a cloud of electrons and ionised particles. We see plasma every day although we might not realise it. Fire is a form of plasma, and plasma makes up the majority of the sun.

A plasma cutter works by firing a spark through a high-pressure stream of gas. This heats the gas to the point where it becomes a plasma, reaching temperatures of up to 20,000 degrees. This high-velocity, super-heated stream of plasma is hot enough to cut through even thick metal.

Great Cutting Speed

One of the great benefits of plasma cutting is its speed.

For thin sheets, a plasma cutter can cut more than ten times faster than oxyfuel cutting. Plasma cutting is almost much faster than both wire EDM cutting and waterjet cutting.

A laser cutter can be faster for thin, non-reflective materials. But for thicker materials, such as 1-inch plate, a plasma cutter can be nearly three times faster.

Custom plasma cutting is one of the fastest methods out there. And the faster we can cut, the faster you can get your products out the door.

Minimising HAZ

Any cutting service that uses heat will inevitably leave what is called a Heat Affected Zone, or HAZ.

The impact of this HAZ depends on the material and the temperatures reached, as well as the cutting method itself. The impact can be anything from mild discolouration to corrosion or embrittlement.

Oxyfuel cutting will typically leave a HAZ that is up to ten times larger than a plasma cutter and may need additional treatment to remove it. Whilst waterjet cutting leaves no HAZ at all, plasma cutting leaves less HAZ than most other heat-based cutting methods.

Cutting Thicker Materials

A laser cutter is typically only suitable for cutting materials that are a quarter of an inch or less in thickness. Even the more powerful machines typically cut half an inch or less.

Plasma cut parts can be made from materials of thicknesses up to 6 inches in depth. This makes a plasma cutting service far more versatile.

Higher Piercing Speed

Every cutting job begins with piercing the metal, and some jobs call for piercing alone without the need for cutting.

A plasma cutting service can save you valuable time when it comes to piercing. A plasma cutter can pierce a half-inch piece of steel more than ten times faster than an oxyfuel cutter. The piercing speed is also superior to a laser cutter, especially for thicker materials.

Once again, the time saved means more custom plasma cutting can be done in the same time frame compared to other methods.

Minimising Warping

The fast cutting speed of a plasma cutter means that the cutting area is exposed to intense heat for much shorter periods.

This has another beneficial effect in that it helps to minimise warping. Slowly heat cutting processes such as laser and oxyfuel leave the cutting area under high temperatures for much longer. This increases the risk of warping the material.

If you want to minimise the effect of warping on your heat-cut parts, then a plasma cutting service is the way to go.

Reflective Surfaces Aren’t a Problem

Laser cutters are great under specific circumstances, but they can’t deal with reflective surfaces.

This is because if the beam of the laser cutter reflects back into the lens, it can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage. So metals such as silver, aluminum, and platinum can be out of bounds for laser cutting.

Plasma cutting companies have no such issues as the reflectivity of the material will have no impact at all. This means there is a wider range of parts that can be cut using a plasma cutting service.

No Upfront Costs

Purchasing a quality plasma cutter can set you back upwards of 40,000 pounds.

Then there are the power costs of running the machine, which since it uses a high voltage arc will eat up a fair amount of electricity. There is also the cost of the gas used by the plasma cutter, which will vary depending on the type of gas used.

If your business can’t afford such outlay up front or purchasing a plasma cutting machine doesn’t make economic sense for your business model, then making use of a custom plasma cutting service can be the best route to go.

In addition, you know that your plasma cut parts will be finished to the highest standard by professionals, using the very latest technology and the highest level of expertise.

A Great Plasma Cutting Service Right Here in the UK

If a plasma cutting service sounds like it could be the ideal thing for your business, then you’ve come to the right place.

As well as high-quality plasma and laser cutting services, we also offer metal spinning, metal pressing and so much more. And we’ve been doing it for more than 70 years.

If you would like to know more about the great services that we offer, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.