Plasma cutting technology has significantly improved the fabrication process. Plasma cutters like the Hypertherm Powermax 45, are essential tools in manufacturing. With the advancement of technology, the capabilities, features, and designs of these machines have also progressed. In auto shops, construction sites, locksmiths, regardless of where you need to use one, there are some key factors to consider when finding the best portable plasma system.
What are your needs?
One of the deciding factors is the work you are performing. For example, if you are doing sheet metals, there is no need to use a large 200 amp cutter that is specifically meant for thick steel plates. For light-duty works such as auto bodies, using a smaller 120-volt power instrument will help you save money as it costs less when buying.
Narrow down your choice of plasma cutter with these additional questions:
- What materials are you planning to cut?
- How often will you use the machine?
- Do you need a portable unit, something that is easy to move around the workspace?
- Do you plan to work and cut on a table or by your hands alone?
- How will you power the machine? Will you use a generator or get some power outlets?
- Do you need a source of air pressure? Some plasma cutters have an integrated air compressor, while others need a separate air compressor to produce external air.
- Do you need computer numerical control (CNC)?
- Does it have an adjustable airflow?
- What’s your budget?
Check the cutting speed.
The speed of the plasma cutting technology has a connection to the metal thickness you are working on. It allows you to calculate the output level of the machine. The cutting speed is essential as it can impact the efficiency of the plasma cutter. The good news is the manufacturer does the calculation for you and indicates them on the product information. For this, check the IPM (Inches Per Minute) value of the product.
Determine the level of output power
Also called amperage, the output power refers to how thick the material that a plasma cutter will cut. Typically, a plasma cutting tool will receive its rating based on its amperage, providing you with the optimal thickness that it can cut.
Take into account the duty cycle.
This is the length of time that a plasma cutter operates non-stop for 10 minutes before it needs to cool down. So, a plasma cutter that operates for four minutes means it has a duty cycle for four minutes and will cool down for six minutes. In general, plasma cutters with short duty cycles are ideal for regular minor cutting, and long duty cycles are suitable for long and deep cuts. When choosing your plasma cutter, make sure to choose the duty cycle that can meet your needs.
The period of warranty depends on the manufacturer, ranging from several months to years. Your plasma supplier must honour their commitment, warranty, and provide fast service.
You can perform plasma cutting technology on a variety of metals. You can find brands that offer portable products such as the Hypertherm Powermax 45, that a single user can handle easily. There is no need to preheat this tool to cut a material; thus, saving you plenty of time. When using a plasma cutter, you can get the job done much faster than other cutting tools.