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General FAQs

  • What is Plasma?

  • Plasma is the fourth state of matter along with solids, liquids and gases. Plasma is a jet or beam of ionised gas capable of conducting electricity. This ionized jet or beam produces extreme heat of around 22,000 Degree Celsius. Plasma cutting was invented as the result of trying to develop a better welding process. Many improvements then led to making this technology what it is today. Plasma cutters provide the best combination of accuracy, speed, and affordability for producing a variety of flat metal shapes. They can cut much finer, faster, and more automatically than oxy-acetylene torches.

  • What is a CNC Cutting Machine?

  • CNC stands for Computed Numerical Control; a CNC Machine is a machine which is controlled by a computer through a numerical program, this program is often in a format called G-code. G-code is also used on a wide variety of CNC machines such as Lathes and Mills. 2D profiling CNC machines can use Plasma or Laser to sever material into almost any 2D shape by melting or vaporizing the material. This type of 2D profiling has been done by CNC machines in industry for over 25 years.

  • What is High Definition Plasma?

  • High Definition Plasma is the same process as plasma cutting but the plasma beam is delivered through a much smaller nozzle orifice at higher velocity and results in more accurate profile cutting. A shield gas is also used to swirl around the plasma beam to constrict the beam and keep the cutting beam straight resulting in a square edge on the cut parts and better cut surface quality.

  • What is a Virtually Dross-Free finish ?

  • A virtually dross free finish means that the cut edge finish is almost totally free from any molten remains of material still stuck to the underside of the part. A virtually dross-free finished edge will be able to be handled without any other de-burring process being necessary. Virtually dross-free edge finish is the goal of High Definition systems and machines and it shows the degree of the correctness of the cutting process fine-adjustments.

  • Could I upgrade the cutting machine in my possession to have it equipped with a High-Definition Plasma Torch?

  • No, unfortunately this is impossible The machine needs a thorough adaptation, or we would not have the best cut quality possible. It is not enough to replace just the torch, to achieve an upgrade of the cut quality. For more details, please refer to our relevant High Definition Plasma text in our Support section.

  • What does dross formation depend on?

  • Dross depends on many variables: Machine variables such as Feed Rate (Torch Travel Speed), Current amperage and voltage, Torch Height and quality of consumables and material variables, the most important of which are material type (chemical composition, grade, flatness, surface condition), material sheet thickness and temperature changes. The three most critical variables, though, are cutting speed, amperage, and torch height.

  • How is Low speed dross formed?

  • When the cutting speed is too low, the plasma column heats the material too much and a larger quantity of metal is melted and blown away. As a result, we get a wider kerf and some of the molten droplets of the metal are not ejected away by the plasma jet. These droplets accumulate along the bottom edge of the cut forming thicker globules; this is what we call low speed dross. It is caused by too much energy absorption by the material. Similar conditions are created when we work with increased amperage or decreased torch height and the dross formed has the same characteristics as the low speed dross.

  • How could I eliminate low speed dross?

  • 1. Increasing the cut speed in 10-12mm pm (5 ipm) increments.
    2. Increase the standoff in 1.5 mm (1/16 in) increments or 5 volt increments.
    3. Decrease the amperage in 10 amp increments.
    4. If none of these measures improve the cut, consider a smaller nozzle size.

  • How is High speed dross formed?

  • If the cutting speed is too fast, the arc begins to lag back in the kerf leaving a small hard bead of uncut material or rollover dross along the bottom of the plate. The predominant direction of molten material flow is to the sides of the cut rather than in front of it and down blown away by the gas flow. This type of dross is difficult to remove. If the speed gets excessively high the arc becomes unstable as it is more and more difficult to raise the temperature of the material to ensure the process continuation. At very high speeds the arc cannot cut deep into the metal, if it can cut at all and it is not extinguished. High positioning of the torch or low current can have similar results as far as dross forming and cut quality is concerned as they cause reduction in the energy of the plasma jet.

  • How could I eliminate high speed dross?

  • 1. Check the nozzle first for signs of wear (gouging, oversize or elliptical orifice)
    2. Decrease the cutting speed in 5 ipm increments
    3. Decrease the standoff in 1/16 increments or 5 volts increments.
    4. Increase the amperage (do not exceed 95% of the nozzle orifice rating).

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