If your shop is going to buy a CNC plasma-cutting system, you need to weigh several key factors and answer critical questions to make a wise purchase.
Megan McNew outlines many of them in a Fabricating & Metalworking article, “What You Must Know Before Buying a Plasma Cutting System.”
The machines can be good investments and additions to other shop equipment. A CNC plasma-cutting table includes a robotic arm that directs the torch for an array of sophisticated cutting patterns.
As her story notes, shops can create:
- Metal art
- HVAC ductwork
- Mechanical parts
Here are some of the tips:
- Look at the quality of the materials used, such as aluminum or steel
- Determine whether the systems will be strong enough for your anticipated projects
- Evaluate the weight of the gantry, which can affect speed and accuracy
- Keep in mind that rolling surfaces with sealed ways can’t guard against all of the plasma dust
“Because it’s sealed, you’ll have to replace the entire component. Unsealed parts, however, are much simpler.” McNew writes. “An unsealed roller on a simple way can be wiped completely clean in a second, and should a part need to be replaced, it can be accessed without replacing the entire component.”
Additional factors include:
- Motors (servo or stepper motors)
- Software (design of the piece and guiding the table and plasma cutter)
- Planning for dust and smoke in an enclosed room
A water table, located just beneath the cutting areas, is a practical way to deal with the inevitable dust and smoke. “As the machine is cutting the metal, sparks and dust are blown down into the water where they are quickly doused.”
In her piece, McNew also emphasizes that shop owners should review the warranty, including the length and what parts it covers. Given that the warranty will expire, it’s also a good idea to know what to expect with the costs of replacement parts.
Contact Stevenson Oil today about Plasma Quench, a liquid material that shop owners can use to protect cutting equipment, eliminate corrosion and control odor.