Plasma cutting is a process in which electrically conductive gas is harnessed and controlled. A torch holds consumable parts, which constrict and control the ionized gas stream or plasma arc for cutting most common metals that conduct electricity. The following is a list of the different plasma torch parts and their function:
Plasma cutting is a process in which electrically conductive gas is harnessed and controlled. A torch holds consumable parts, which constrict and control the ionized gas stream or plasma arc for cutting most common metals that conduct electricity. The following are the parts and functions of a plasma torch:
Torch Body: is the base of the consumable stack-up. The torch body serves as the working end of the plasma cutting system and holds the consumable parts in perfect alignment. The torch provides pre-flow, plasma gas, and shield gas to the consumables, while delivering the cutting current to the electrode.
In a liquid cooled torch there is a removable cylindrical component called a water tube, essential for effective electrode cooling. The water tube should be checked during regularly scheduled maintenance, but only replaced if damaged.
Electrode: is the starting and electrical contact point of the plasma arc. Its main function is to act as a conductor and provide power to the plasma arc.
One of the main features of the electrode is the plasma arc attachment point, which is a small cylindrical insert in the tip of the electrode made of an element with a very high melting point, such as tungsten or hafnium. The insert must be able to withstand the extreme heat of the plasma arc.
Nozzle: is the device designed to control the direction of the plasma arc. A new nozzle has a perfectly round orifice with sharp inside and outside edges to ensure optimal cut quality.
Swirl Ring: the main function of the swirl ring is to control the swirling action of the plasma gas flow around the electrode. It does this in order to centre the cutting arc on the electrode and through the nozzle, and constrict the cutting arc for faster cut speeds and thicker cut capability.
Shield: protects the other consumables from molten splatter, especially the nozzle. It also helps cool the nozzle and contributes to optimal cut quality and faster cut speeds.
Inner Retaining Cap: used in larger plasma systems such as HyPerformance systems. The inner retaining cap’s primary function is to hold the nozzle and swirl ring in place while directing coolant flow to the exterior of the nozzle.
Outer Retaining Cap: holds the shield in place over the nozzle (or inner retaining cap, if applicable) and directs secondary gas or shield gas to the shield.