Are you considering purchasing a plasma cutting machine but are not sure if this is the right cutting system for you?

If yes, you have come to the right place!  

Arguably one of the most innovative cutting machines currently on the market, CNC plasma cutters are able to cut through both thin and thick materials and offer a cost effective, highly efficient way to cut through metals such as mild steel.

Still not sure if you should invest in plasma cutting systems?

Keep reading to find out all of the advantages and disadvantages of CNC plasma cutting so that you can make the best decision for your business.

Advantages of plasma cutting machines

Utmost precision

Due to the plasma arc, plasma cutting machines offer the utmost precision, which makes them ideal for cutting intricate shapes. In fact, they can be guided with the same level of precision as drawing a line with a pencil.

High speed

Plasma cutters are able to cut very quickly, making them one of the most productive and efficient cutting methods. These fast process times also mean that there is less risk of metal abrasion and cutting errors.

Versatility

Plasma cutting can be used on a wide variety of metals, including to cut steel, iron, copper and alloys due to the power of the pilot arc. Furthermore, they provide a high quality cut edge every time.

Computer controlled

If you are looking to maximise productivity, you should know that plasma cutting machines can be computer controlled. This means that you do not need as many workers to operate them and that you can continue to work outside of your current operational hours.

Cost effective

Plasma cutting equipment is widely recognised as great value for money. Plus, plasma torches rarely require maintenance, so you will not need to spend money on replacement parts.

Disadvantages of plasma cutting machines

Can only cut through materials of about 1 inch

While a plasma cutter can cut through pretty much any metal that conducts electricity, in terms of thickness, it can only accommodate around 1 inch.

The cutting process is noisy

Although you are probably used to a little, or a lot, of noise in your workshop, you should know that plasma cutters tend to be loud. Plus, generate a lot of fumes, so you need to make sure your workspace is well ventilated.

Eye protection is needed

The electrical arc creates very bright flashes during the cutting process, so you need to make sure that every one of your workers are supplied with protective goggles and offered safety training.

Would you like to know more about plasma cutting machines and how they can help your business? Contact us here today and one of our team will talk you through our plasma cutting machines to help you pick the right one for your cutting needs.

Thinking about purchasing CNC plasma cutters but are worried about how they need to be operated?

While using a plasma cutter for the first time may seem like a daunting process, the plasma cutting process is actually fairly straightforward, and you will be amazed at the high quality finish that they deliver.

What is plasma cutting?

Plasma cutting offers a highly efficient and cost effective way to cut steel and any other metal that conducts electricity. Using DC voltage to heat compressed air to a very high temperature, plasma cutting machines then ionise the atoms to create a pilot arc.

It is this small jet of plasma that pushes through and melts the metal, resulting in a precise cut edge and superior finish. 

How to set up plasma cutting machines

Using plasma cutting machines is simple and straightforward. All you need to do is follow the below steps.

  1. Connect your plasma cutter to your chosen air compressor.
  2. Connect your plasma cutter to either a 240V or 415V supply. This will be dependent on how powerful a machine you bought.
  3. Connect the earth lead to your workpiece
  4. Connect your plasma torch to the cutting machine
  5. Select your cutting amperage – the thicker the material, the higher amperage needed
  6. Press the switch on your torch handle and move the torch across the work as the electric arc cuts the metal.

You can choose to start from the edge of the piece or make a hole in the middle of the metal. Plasma cutting machines are capable of cutting through both thin and thick materials, and you can cut different sizes and shapes using templates.

In terms of ease of use, plasma cutting machines are hand held and have no heavy gas bottles that you need to transport around. They can be easily placed on the cutting table and carried from one work space to another.  

Plus, if you have a large work order and need to cut outside of normal working hours, plasma cutters can be computer controlled, so less power is needed, and you can still expect a high quality, precise cut.

How to cut at the right speed

If you cut too slow, your plasma arc machine may start to splutter. However, if you cut too fast, you may experience a poor cut quality and a blowback of dross.

Therefore, you need to make sure that you are cutting at the right speed. To determine this, when you are cutting from the edge of the material, you need to ensure that the metal has been fully cut through and that the dross is coming out at a maximum of a 10-20 degree angle.

If the angle starts to increase and gets close to a 45-degree angle, you need to slow down your cutting speed. If you are struggling to get a precise and clean cut, you may need to increase your amperage.

Not sure which plasma cutting machine to buy for your business? Contact us here and we will talk you through your cutting needs and plasma cutting options.

Abrasive waterjet systems have become increasingly popular in applications such as steel service centres, equipment manufacturers and fabricators due to their cut quality and lack of heat.

However, do you really know how they work and how much pressure is needed for these cutting systems to operate?

Within the below blog, you will find out everything you need to know about the water jet cut process, including exactly how much pressure these high pressure pumps need and how this pressure is the driving force behind their overall efficiency.

How does waterjet cutting work?

Waterjet cutting machines use an ultra-high pressure stream of water to carry an abrasive and pure grit. This abrasive does the job of a mechanical sawing action and results in a smooth and precise cut.

Known as one of the most versatile cutting processes, water jet cutters can cut through a wide range of materials, including stainless steels and glass.

Waterjet cutting machines work with an intensifier pump which creates very high water pressure to cut through even the hardest of materials.

How much pressure is needed to cut materials?

As you would expect, a stream of pure water mixed with an abrasive is not enough to cut through sturdy materials. Instead, it is the speed at which the abrasive hits the plate that facilitates the cutting process. To make the velocity fast enough to cut, the water is pressurised into an ultra-high pressure.

 Typical waterjet cutting pressure is between 50,000 and 60,000 psi. However, you can find new cnc machining that is pressurised up to 90,000 psi. When the water is at this pressure, it is then released through a small orifice in the cutting head. This resulting stream of water is supersonic, which means that it travels faster than the speed of sound and can therefore cut through almost anything.

Plus, these highly efficient cutting machines require very little water, so they are very environmentally friendly.

Why do high levels of pressure matter?

If you are not sure what level of pressure your water jet cutters need to have, then it can be a good idea to find out how high pressure helps the cutting process.

Firstly, the higher the pressure, the higher levels of productivity you can expect. As the pressure increases, so does your cutting speed. At 60,000 psi, the garnet abrasive accounts for over half of the total running cost. However, if you run at 87,000 psi, the abrasive cost falls to less than half.

High pressure also leads to shorter cycle times which means that you can produce more parts per hour and complete more jobs per day.

Furthermore, as the speed of the water stream increases, the quicker the abrasive cuts, and therefore, less abrasive is needed.

Are you ready to invest in a waterjet machine? Do not hesitate to contact us here and let our experienced and friendly team help you make the right choice for your business.

Whether you are not satisfied with your current cut process or you are looking for a faster and more efficient cutting system, there is no denying that waterjet cutting is having its moment.

Using high pressure pumps to cut a wide range of materials, water jet cutters are often mixed with other abrasive particles so that you can enjoy a seamless cut time and time again.

However, are there any downsides to this method of cutting?

Let’s take a closer look at both the advantages and disadvantages of these innovative cutting systems so that you can make the right choice for your business.

Advantages of water jet cutting

More sustainable

If you are looking to make your business more eco-friendly, then you will be happy to hear that waterjet cutting machines are greener than other cutting methods. Not only do they not create any hazardous waste, thanks to the close-looped system, but they also require very little pure water to work.

They can cut through almost anything

Arguably one of the top benefits of water jet cutters when compared to other cutting machines, they can cut through almost any material. These include stainless steels, bullet-proof glass, and even materials that have reflective surfaces.

They use less heat

Water jet cutters do not cause any adjacent areas to the cutting space to become heated, which means they are more likely to remain intact and uncompromised by the cutting process.

Better cut quality

If you are looking for a highly accurate cut, water jet cutting machines are the way to go. Capable of achieving a 0.13mm of accuracy, as well as being able to cut 3D shapes, no other cutting machine delivers this level of precision.

They are cheaper

In terms of operating your cutting machine, water jet cutters are considerably more cost-effective. They boast a fast set-up time, and you can use controlled software to operate them, meaning they can continue to work outside of normal operating hours.

Disadvantages of water jet cutting

Increased cutting times

One of the main drawbacks of water jet cutting is that it does take a little bit longer than other methods of cutting. This means that you may experience less output.

Initial costs

CNC machining does not come cheap, and you may find the initial cost of additional abrasive materials such as granite to be beyond your budget.

Risk of orifice failure

Poor quality waterjet orifices have a tendency to break down, which can result in lost time and a reduction in productivity. That being said, you can easily find spare parts for water jet cutters online, including a replacement cutting head.

Do you need help choosing a water jet cutting machine for your business? You can contact us here and speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable team who will be more than happy to guide you through the purchasing process.

Are you wondering if you can use a plasma cutter without an air compressor? If yes, you are far from alone. Although most plasma cutting machines come with an air compressor, you can find some units that come without this useful component. This can be confusing for beginners, especially, and might have you questioning, does that mean that we don’t need one? Let’s take a closer look.

What are the components of a plasma cutter?

If you have not seen a plasma cutter up close and personal before, then it can be difficult to understand how they are set up. There are several vital components that all plasma cutting machines need to have in order to function properly.

These are:

How is an air compressor used in plasma cutting?

Plasma cutting uses a combination of heated gas and electricity to cut through various metals such as stainless steel and aluminium, but where does compressed air come into play?

It’s simple really. The reason why people use plasma cutters is that they are able to harness high-intensity heat for a superior cut quality. However, it is through the use of an air compressor that this heat is directed to the metal, allowing for a more precise cut.

The amount of air pressure that you need when using a plasma cutter is about 4-8 SCFM delivered at 90-120 psi. This covers units that are intended for up to 3/8 inches thick steel to large units that can handle 7/8 inch steel.

Ideally, you should choose an air compressor with a CFM rating that is 1.5 to 2 times higher than your plasma cutter.

Should you invest in an air compressor?

There are multiple reasons why you should invest in an air compressor to use alongside your plasma torch, with one of the most notable ones being you can enjoy a more precise and cleaner cut. In fact, if you want to make the exact same cut time and time again, then an air compressor is a definite must.

Another benefit of using compressed air is that you can find high-performing plasma cutting machines that have built-in air compressors. Not only does this allow for portability but it also means you will only have one power cord which can make the laser cutting experience easier.

Whether you think that a portable air compressor and plasma cutter combo is the right choice for your cutting needs or you are unsure still, contact us here and let us find the perfect plasma cutting machine for you.

Are there any downsides to using an air compressor?

If you are wondering why some people choose not to use one of these pneumatic tools, then you should know that it predominantly comes down to cost. Whether you choose to purchase a separate air compressor or you opt for a built-in model, you are still going to have to spend a little bit more money.

Another factor that puts some people off buying built-in air compressors is that these rely on a fixed air pressure, which means that any leaks will have a serious impact on your ability to cut.

All of the above being said, a built-in air compressor can transform your cut quality and provide a level of flexibility that you won’t get from buying a separate unit.  

Have you recently invested in a waterjet cutting machine? Or perhaps you are thinking about buying one, but you are worried about the upkeep? Either way, the below blog will tell you everything you need to know about keeping your waterjet cutting machine in optimum condition for longer. Follow these tips, and you will ensure that you truly make the most of your tool and your money. Keep reading to find out more.

Familiarise yourself with the manufacturer’s recommendations

Wherever you shop for waterjet cutting machines, you should be provided with specific maintenance guidelines and recommendations that will help you to keep your abrasive waterjet working as it should.

Make sure that you thoroughly read through these recommendations and that you familiarise yourself with how to carry out any listed maintenance procedures.

Use preventative maintenance software

Many people don’t realise that you can actually purchase preventative maintenance software systems for your waterjet cutter, which will actively monitor the operating conditions of elements such as the high pressure plumbing, the filters, the pump, and the water quality.

This clever software will also alert you if you require any replacement parts or if your machine needs any maintenance work carried out so that your waterjet cutter can be fixed before any required work becomes cost-prohibitive.

Regularly inspect and clean your waterjet cutter

There are several aspects of your waterjet cutting machine that need to be inspected on a regular basis. These include checking the pump and plumbing components for leaks and inspecting the slats for wear and tear.

You also need to regularly remove any accumulated abrasive and material particles from the tank, as these can damage your machine over time and result in an inferior cutting process. You can find a removal system to do this task for you.

Finally, don’t forget to remove any dissolved solids from the inside edge of the machine’s nozzle using white vinegar to ensure that your machine performs at its best each and every time.

Purchase spare parts in advance

Rather than wait for a component of your waterjet cutter to need replacing, it can be a good idea to purchase spare parts in advance as sometimes you have to wait a while, and this can affect your productivity.

If you need any spare parts for your CNC waterjet or another well-known waterjet cutting machine, contact us here, and we will source these for you. This will ensure your waterjet cutting machine always works in optimal condition.

Test the quality of water

You need to make sure that the water quality meets your waterjet manufacturer’s specifications. You should find that most UK city water supplies will meet the requirements. However, if you are using poor quality water and high-temperature water, you will find that the lifespan of your machine’s components, such as its pressure seals, are greatly reduced.

If the water you are using is not of the highest quality, you may want to use a chiller, water softener, or water treatment system to improve it.

Are you thinking about investing in a waterjet cutting machine but are not sure if this popular tool lives up to the hype? Known for its ability to cut through almost any material, surely even this innovative technology must have its limits?

Keep reading to find out whether these high pressure pumps are everything you hoped them to be. Plus, discover how thick they can cut and where to buy the best waterjet cutter online.

What materials can a waterjet cut?

If you are looking to buy a waterjet cutting machine, rather than look at what you can’t cut with a waterjet machine, let’s take a closer look at what you can cut with this versatile and multitasking tool. This should help in making that final purchasing decision.

Metals

Waterjets can cut all types of metal, including aluminium, hardened tool steel, titanium, and a whole host of other lesser-known types of metals that you would struggle to cut through with another cutting method.

When you cut material with a waterjet, you will obtain a smooth edge with no burn marks or cracking, and, since the cut process is a cold one, there is no heat-affected zone.

Naturals

Natural materials such as glass, stone, and wood can also be easily cut using a waterjet cutter. In fact, our waterjet cutting machines can cut through practically any natural material you can find.

Using special abrasive waterjets, you can machine natural materials with the utmost precision and producing less particulate than with static cutting methods.

Composites

Abrasive waterjet cutting has many advantages when cutting composites, such as carbon fibre, including no melting, no hazardous fumes, and no need to change tooling halfway through the job.

Water jet cutting machines can be used to make an accurate cut in any fibre-reinforced material with both high speed and high precision.  

Plastic & Rubber

Using just a stream of water, you can easily cut through machine foam, rubber, and acrylics with ease, making a waterjet cutter one of the most flexible cutting tools on the market. As many products are made using these two materials, plastic and rubber, it can be handy to know that you have a suitable tool to handle the job of cutting them to the shape and size you require.

How thick can a waterjet cutting machine cut?

The only thing you need to consider when deciding if a waterjet cutter is the right tool for you is whether it can cut thick enough for your requirements. As a general rule, abrasive waterjets can cut through 12 inches of most materials, with some users reporting that their chosen waterjet cutter cut even thicker than that.

That being said, most people who use waterjet cutters cut material that is 3 inches thick or less as cutting thicker materials reduces the tolerance that can be maintained and increases the length of time it takes to make the cut.

Interested to know more about waterjet cutting machines and whether or not this is the right cutting method for your professional or personal needs? Contact us here, and our friendly and knowledgeable team will answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Waterjet cutting involves using a special cutter that employs a jet of high pressure water to cut through a variety of different materials. Watching the process of this jet stream is quite fascinating, and this method of cutting certainly gets the job done quickly, but that exactly are the advantages of using waterjet cutting? Read on to find out.

Waterjet Cutters Are Green Technology

We all know – or should know, at least – that we have to become a lot more environmentally friendly in everything we do. That applies to business owners and individuals, and whether it’s your home or business, you need to work out ways to be kinder to the planet.

Using waterjet cutting methods is one such improvement you can make. The cold cutting process doesn’t create any kind of dangerous or hazardous waste, and neither does it employ any chemicals in the cutting methods. As we’ve said, it’s simply a water jet, albeit a highly pressurised one.

Waterjet Cutters Can Get Through Almost Anything

Another get benefit to using waterjet cutting machines is that they will cut almost any material. Compare a waterjet cutter with another type of cutting machine, and you’ll see that whereas other units might have quite large limitations on what they can cut for you, the waterjet cutter is far more likely to do the job you need it to do. As examples, the waterjet cutting machine can cut through:

So no matter what job you need to be done, waterjet cutting technology will help you achieve your goal.

The Cutting Steam Produces Less Heat

When working on metal fabrication, one of the big and potentially most dangerous issues is the heat. Traditional laser cutting will produce a huge amount of heat which means you need to be extremely careful when using the equipment, and damage is highly possible. If you choose to cut metal with a waterjet cutting machine, however, you’ll find that much less heat is produced, making it a lot safer to use.

Not only does the material you are cutting not get as hot as it would if you were using other cutting services, but there are no additional heat affected zones adjacent to the cutting tables either. This means that the area you’re working in won’t overheat, making it safer for you, your work colleagues, and your place of work in general.

Waterjet Cutting Is Highly Accurate

Another advantage of waterjet cutting that is sure to mean a lot to both business owners and their customers is that this method of cutting is extremely accurate. In fact, waterjet cutters can offer a 0.13mm degree of accuracy. Plus, they can cut highly intricate 3D shapes and specific patterns, meaning that no matter what you need in terms of the material you’re cutting, the waterjet cutter can offer it to you.

For more information about waterjet cutters and what they can do for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Are you worried about the lifespan of your plasma cutting machine?

If yes, you needn’t be. With the right care and regular maintenance, there is no reason why your plasma cutting machine can’t last for many more years to come.

It can be a good idea to think about your plasma cutting machine as like the tyres on your car. If you want to get the best performance out of it, you need to make sure that you undertake all the necessary machine maintenance.

As with most things in life, prevention is always better than cure, so within the below blog, we have detailed the top preventative maintenance tips for your plasma cutters which promise to extend the life of this crucial metal cutting tool.

Clean and Inspect

As part of the proper maintenance of plasma cutting machines, you need to carry out routine cleaning and inspections, as don’t forget, this tool comes into close contact with molten metal on a daily basis!

There are several steps within these processes which are as follows:

Check common wear items

As well as routine maintenance tasks, you also need to check your plasma consumables, i.e., the components of your plasma cutter that have a certain life cycle and will need replacing at some point.

The frequency at which you need to replace a specific part of the machine, such as your torch consumables, main contactors and relays, will be dependent on how often you use your machine. However, typically, each item will need replacing after a set number of months or arc hours.

Recommendations are as follows:

Every six months or 500 arc hours, you should replace:

Every 12 months or 1,000 arc hours, you should replace:

Every two years or 2,000 arc hours, you should replace:

When you purchase a plasma cutting machine from us here at Kerf Developments, you are guaranteed high-quality post-sales support. We won’t disappear like so many other manufacturers as soon as we close a sale. We will always be standing by to help you get the most out of your plasma cutting machine.

If you are a metal worker, you are probably already aware of the process of oxy fuel cutting, but maybe you are not entirely sure how it works. Used in both heavy and light industrial operations, the oxy fuel cutting process has been a popular choice for cutting steel for decades and still remains very much in use today despite new developments within the industry.

So, what exactly is oxy fuel cutting, and how does it work?

Keep reading to find out.

What is Oxy Fuel?

In 1903, two French engineers developed the process of oxygen-acetylene welding. When using pure oxygen instead of air, one can boost the temperature of a flame significantly, and when paired with acetylene propane, the flame can burn at around 3,500 Celsius or 6,332 Fahrenheit. Through localised melting, with the use of a torch, the material can be welded or cut at room temperature.

Oxygen-fuel processes can be carried out using a variety of different fuel gases, including propylene, liquified petroleum gas and hydrogen. In oxy-fuel systems, oxygen is not the fuel itself but what chemically combines with the fuel to produce heat. This process is known as oxidation.

Although The Cut Quality Is Not As Clean As Plasma Cutting Oxy Fuel Cutting Is Cost-effective & Provides A Portable Way To Cut Steel With No Electricity

How does Oxy Fuel Cutting Work?

Considered to be the most effective method for cutting steel, during the oxy fuel cutting process, you must preheat mild steel with a cutting torch prior to cutting it. The steel needs to reach an ignition temperature of around 960 °C, or 1760 °F, before it is ready to be cut.

Once the steel has reached the appropriate temperature, the heated part receives oxygen via a nozzle. There is then a reaction between the oxygen and the iron (to form iron oxide), which transforms the heated metal into liquid steel.

The waste matter’s melting point is not as high as the melting point that is occurring in the steel, so the oxygen stream is able to eliminate the waste matter without disrupting the stainless steel. While this is going on, a process called the exothermic reaction cuts the steel whilst the cutting torch does its job also.

As the steel is constantly hot during the oxy fuel cutting process, this method of welding and cutting is not suitable for most metals; however, it is ideal for cutting low carbon steel.

Oxy Fuel Cutting Process Has Been A Popular Choice For Cutting Steel For Decades & Remains Very Much In Use Today Despite New Developments Within The Industry.

Why Choose Oxy Fuel Cutting?

Oxy fuel cutting machines are what you need if you want to cut through a thick wall (up to 24 inches thick). That is roughly 1,200% thicker than what plasma cutters can accommodate. Although the cut quality is not as clean as with plasma cutting and the cutting speed is slower, oxy fuel cutting is highly cost-effective and provides a portable way to cut steel as no electricity is required. All you need is a few gas tanks and a torch, and you can cut anywhere!

Need help choosing the right oxy fuel cutting machine for your business? From small single-head machines right up to large multi-head ones, when it comes to oxy fuel cutting, we have got you covered.

Contact us here for more information.

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