Plasma Cutter Consumables: A Mini Guide
Posted: Dec 24, 2020
Today almost every industry requires a type of plasma cutter for a successful cut. It usually involves having high-quality parts for cutting edge marks. Behind the scenes, it requires a quality plasma cutter, proper handling methods, timely maintenance, and other motion control tools.
Often neglected are the consumables, i.e., plasma cutter components that wear over time and usage. You often forget to replace them, unaware that a faulty part can disrupt other components' progress too. What should you do to avoid it?
Maintain the torch. It can ensure that Kaliburn plasma components are working correctly. But for that, you need to maintain all consumable parts in the plasma torch.
What are those main components of a plasma torch? What is its durability? How to increase their shelf life?
Let's find answers to these questions. But first, a layman introduction of Plasma cutter consumables.
What is Plasma Cutter Consumable?
In simple terms, plasma cutter consumables are the components of a plasma cutter. This machine uses an accelerated jet of hot plasma to cut electrically conductive materials like steel, aluminum, brass, and others.
Components of Kaliburn Plasma Consumables
The torch and consumable parts together yield the plasma cutting arc. The main components include swirl ring, electrode, nozzle, shield cap, and retaining cap.
It is a small component in the torch. It channelizes the gas coming from the machine in different directions and temperatures. Additionally, it balances the flow of gas inward and outward.
Swirl Ring acts as a protective layer and prevents the nozzle from burning or degrading rapidly.
The electrode is a slender, narrow piece of copper or silver and contains hafnium or tungsten. Its purpose is to carry current from the torch to the plate, which arcs the plate after passing through the stages.
The nozzle focuses the arc on the plate and cuts. As it remains in the middle of superheated gas, it may wear out sooner. Thus, the electrode's backend has a cooling device that helps in transferring the heat.
FYI, a large opening nozzle is used for gouging and a small one for fine detailed work.
The role of the retaining cap is to hold all the consumable parts of a torch together. It is a component that wears out soon because of the heat on the ends.
As the name says, the shield protects the torch and other components from the molten metal or sparks. It takes over the brunt of fallout so that other components don't wear early.
Durability of Plasma Cutter Consumable
Now that we know about the different components let's see how long they can last.
The most affected are nozzle and electrode because of direct involvement with cuts and arcs. You should replace them simultaneously in a defined time frame. The other components, such as a swirl ring and retaining cap, are vulnerable to dropping and breaking. Replace them when any cracks appear. You don't need to replace the shield cap as long as you can clean the slag and ensure consistent airflow. Once the slag build-up is too large to remove, remember it's time to replace it.
Tips to Prolong Life of Consumables
Replacing consumables at the right time is essential. However, here are the three ways you can extend your plasma consumables' life.
Cutting: Fine cutting requires a lot of focus work. A quick or slow cut from a wrong distance can not only make the work wrong; it can also wear your parts quickly.
Installing: Ensure that the installation of components is proper as it would affect the functioning. See to it that tolerance matches the amperages and is well assembled.
Monitoring: Keep track of the components and their wearing. If a part wears, immediately replace it with a new one so that other parts are unaffected. Try to change the nozzle and electrode frequently so that they don't hamper the cut quality.
Keeping a check on plasma cutter consumables and torch is essential. Besides, you should also maintain and replace them routinely. If not, they may cause a catastrophic failure.
Alternative Parts, Inc. is the manufacturer and distributor of replacement parts for Amada Machinery.