In his latest article for The Fabricator Magazine – “Plasma cutting maintenance: Are you throwing money away?”, Jim Colt of Hypertherm discussed the importance of getting the most out of plasma consumables in order to increase productivity and cut costs.
According to Jim Colt, introducing a consumables inspection procedure is the most important step in making your production more efficient. If a shop has no specific rules on when to change consumables, then along with the consumables that require replacement, some consumables that can last a lot longer may be changed. It’s therefore very important to understand the manufacturing process and the role of every consumable’s part in it. This will help you know when exactly each consumable has to be replaced.
Two essential parts of the plasma cutting system are the nozzle and the electrode (You can learn more about electrodes and their maintenance in our previous blog – “Best practices for the best consumable life and performance: Electrode”).
The electrode tip tends to wear and requires thorough inspection to assess whether it should continue to be used. When inspecting a used electrode, you should view the position of the hafnium emitter pit at the very tip. An off-centered pit may indicate an incorrect or damaged swirl ring or incorrect gas flow setting. To measure the pit depth you can use a dial indicator. The deeper the pit, the closer the electrode is to failure. As a reference point you can use a new electrode that is identical to the electrode that is measured to zero the indicator pointer.
In regards to the nozzle, there’s no specific attribute to measure how much life it has left; you therefore need to closely inspect the wear on the nozzle orifice on the inlet and outlet areas. When inspecting a high-definition plasma nozzle, scrutinize the orifice shape on the outside and inside. On the outside it’s important to make sure that the orifice bore is perfectly round – new nozzles have sharp edges on the orifice and after some wear they start to become rounded, which affects cut quality. When it comes to the inner bore it’s equally as important – the orifice should be perfectly round with no nicks or heavy arc marks.
In the end, to make your plasma cutting process as effective as possible, you have to see the whole picture. Plasma system, CNC, height control systems and CAM software should all work together in order to provide excellent cut quality, speed and consumable life.
Here at MultiCam Canada we offer a wide range of Plasma solutions, as well as training to ensure you get the most out of your CNC Plasma. Feel free to reach out, so we can help you choose the perfect machine for the application you have in mind.
At our online store – http://cncplasmastore.ca/, you can find a wide range of plasma consumables for your next plasma project.