How Does Plasma Cutting Work?

a plasma torch cutting through metal plateOriginally developed as a solution to the inefficiency of using oxy-fuel for cutting thin metal plate, plasma cutting is now widely used in the structural steel and plate fabrication industry for processing materials that are less than an inch thick. Plasma cutting is a highly accurate process that can be computer controlled for even better precision. Let’s take a closer look at how plasma cutting works.

Plasma: The Fourth State of Matter

Plasma is a gaseous substance that flows like a liquid. Plasma used in steel fabrication, such as in a beam machine or coping machine, can reach temperatures of up to 45,000 degrees Fahrenheit—that’s hotter than the surface of the sun! The plasma is generated when an electrical arc super-heats a gas, typically argon, as the gas is compressed and forced through the minuscule opening of the torch head at high velocity.

In order for the electric arc to generate, it must react with the material. Therefore, plasma cutting is only possible with conductive metals, like structural steel, mild steel, and stainless steel. When the plasma connects with the workpiece, the process of recombination takes place, wherein the electrically charged ions combine with negative ions to form neutral atoms. That is to say, the plasma turns back into a gas, an exothermic reaction that generates intense heat. That heat melts the metal, and the gas flow blows away the slag, resulting in clean cuts.

Automating Plasma Cutting for Structural Steel & Plate Fabrication

Successful steel fabrication shops are responsible for numerous deliverables, which is why CNC plasma cutters are widely used. These high-tech beam and coping machines are operated by a computer programmed to cut specific shapes or profiles. The result is speedier processing, as a CNC plasma cutter can far outpace a handheld torch. When production goals are high, automated fabrication is key to meeting deadlines, which is why CNC plasma cutters are such a vital tool.

The Industry’s Most Advanced CNC Plasma Cutting Technology

BeamCut’s advanced structural steel and plate fabrication technology is taking the industry by storm. Equipped with a 360-beveling FANUC robotic arm that can process nearly any shape or profile, powered by Hypertherm X-Definition plasma, and featuring user-friendly CNC software, BeamCut is the solution steel fabrication shops need to take their business to the next level of success.

Improve Productivity

BeamCut will replace your shop’s punches, drill lines, band saws, coping and grinding stations, and layout and marking stations, performing all of the tasks these tools would be required for in one pass. With automated operations, BeamCut can help reduce your production time by as much as 80%. That’s a remarkable return on investment!

Reduce Waste

BeamCut helps eliminate cutting errors and wasted materials by allowing you to manually calibrate cutting tolerances, nest parts, and track robotic cutting paths before the work begins. Plus, it minimizes material handling, further removing the risk of damage and ultimately making your shop a safer place to work.

Learn More

For more information about the power of BeamCut and how it can take your structural steel and plate fabrication shop to the next level, contact us today. When you do, be sure to ask about the free and unlimited lifetime support you’ll receive with your purchase.