Plasma cutting is a melt-cutting technique. Plasma gas is forced through a small aperture in the cutting torch. This small aperture contains a negatively-charged electrode. The positively-charged product and the negatively-charged electrode create a circuit. This circuit or plasma arc is very narrow and stable, concentrating the channel of energy used in the process. The searing temperature melts the material and the plasma gas blows the molten material from the cut.
Plasma cutting can be used for all conductive materials, such as structural steel, stainless steel and non-ferrous materials.
De Boer Snijbedrijf uses a plasma cutting machine with a plasma source of 400 A and a cutting range of 5100 x 27,000 mm. With this plasma cutting machine De Boer Snijbedrijf can cut steel and stainless steel up to a thickness of 50 mm. The advanced 3D Link cutting head makes it possible to make fusion edges at a range of angles. The 3D Link has a controlled distance between the plasma torch and the material at all times, can be rotated through 360° and can always be centred. The plasma cutting machine also has functionality for ink jet marking, so it can mark edge lines, centre lines, spacing lines, central axes and position numbers.
Drawings can be supplied digitally, in DXF, DWG or DSTV format and De Boer Snijbedrijf can then use the drawings with its CAD/CAM programs Profirst and SigmaNEST.
There is a big difference between plasma cutting and oxy-fuel cutting. Materials (such as stainless steel and aluminium) that are not suitable for oxy-fuel cutting can be processed using the plasma cutting method. In the plasma cutting method the work piece is heated to the melting point by the plasma arc, while the kinetic energy generated by the gas ensures that the melted material is removed. In the oxy-fuel cutting process the material is burned and the liquid slag is blown away. The inherent difference between flame cutting and melt cutting makes it possible to cut stainless steel and aluminium with plasma cutting, while oxy-fuel cutting cannot be used on these materials.