What is Plasma Cutter?

by Steven Glassner General Manager

Plasma cutting is a process in which a jet of ionized gas at temperatures above 20,000 C is useful to melt and expel material from the cut. During this process, an electric arc struck between an electrode and the workpiece. The electrode recesses in water or air-cooled gas nozzles constrict the arc that causes the narrow, high temperature, high-velocity plasma jet to form.

When the plasma jet hits the workpiece, recombination takes place, and the gas reverts to its normal state. It emits intense heat as it moves. This heat melts the metal, and13 gas flow ejects from the cut. Plasma gases are usually argon, hydrogen, or nitrogen. These inert gases replace air, but it requires a special electrode of hafnium or zirconium.

It uses compressed air and makes this variant of the plasma process very competitive with the oy fuel process. Additionally, it cuts carbon manganese and stainless steel up to 20mm thick. Hence, while choosing plasma cutter machines, make sure to choose machines that have Hypertherm hpr260 consumables, Hypertherm powermax 45 consumables. Because they are easy to find and replace if and when needed.

Plasma arcs can cut a very wide range of electrically conductive alloys, including plain carbon and stainless steel, aluminum and its alloys, nickel alloys, and titanium. This method developed to cut the materials which could not cut satisfactorily by the oxy-fuel process.

Normally, the component or sheet to which you cut stays stationary, and only the plasma torch moves. The cost of plasma torches is low compared to other products using the price of manipulation equipment; it is common to plugin multiple torches in a cutting table.

Plasma arc cutting carries out underwater using special equipment.

How Plasma Cutting Works?

The process in plasma cutting and welding is it creates an electrical channel of superheated, electrically ionized gas, i.e., plasma. Forming a finished circuit using an earth terminal is important while using the plasma cutter. To achieve this, it uses a compressed gas, which blows to the material at high speed using a focused nozzle.

Inside the gas, an arc is formed between an electrode near the gas nozzle and the workpiece itself. This electric arc ionizes part of the gas and creates an electrically conductive plasma channel. The current from the cutting torch flows through this plasma; it radiates enough heat to melt through the material. Simultaneously, high-speed plasma and the compressed gas blow the hot molten metal away and separate the workpiece.

Plasma cutting is a great way to cut thin and thick materials compared to hand torches that can cut up to 38nm thick steel sheets; stronger computer-controlled torches can cut up to 150 mm thick steel sheets. Plasma cutters are very useful for cutting and welding sheets in curved or angular shapes as they are very hot. Make sure to have plasma cutting machines which have hypertherm hpr260 consumables, hypertherm powermax 45 consumables.

Every technology has advantages and disadvantages. Similarly, a plasma cutter has its advantages and disadvantages. Let me walk you through them in brief:


  • The operation of one or more burners depends on the series.

  • Cuts off all electrically conductive materials

  • Cuts of high alloy steel and aluminum materials in medium and large thickness

  • It has an excellent performance in small and medium mild steel thicknesses.

  • Plasma cutters have high strength structural steel with low heat input.

  • They have high cutting speeds, i.e., up to 10 times higher than oxy-fuel

  • Plasma cutting guarantees automation

  • Plasma cutting underwater allows very low heat exposure and low noise level at the workplace.


  • It has a restriction of the use of up to 160 mm for dry cutting and 120 mm for underwater cutting

  • It slightly wider kerf

  • Has relatively high power consumption

  • Laser offers high cutting quality

  • It is very expensive compared to oxy acetylene cutting systems


Plasma cutters are one of the best innovations that can help fabricators create out of the box creation and unleash their creativity. Create the next big thing, and we are waiting to see what things you can create.

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About Steven Glassner Innovator   General Manager

18 connections, 0 recommendations, 70 honor points.
Joined APSense since, September 7th, 2016, From New York, United States.

Created on Dec 9th 2020 06:52. Viewed 502 times.


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