Cutting samples are often the best way to represent the cutting capabilities of a piece of equipment. By evaluating the angle of the bevel, the amount of slag generated when cutting, the surface finish on the edge, we can get a good representation of the capabilities of a cutting system. However, the cut-off sample should not be the only factor when deciding on one technology or another. An understanding of all the factors that contribute to obtaining a satisfactory cut must be understood before making a purchase decision.
Mainly the plasma cutting process depends on three primary factors:
- Plasma cutting equipment: Technology, amperage, cutting assistance gas, etc.
- Material: Type, composition of the same and finish on the surface.
- Machine motion: Guides, motors, transmission elements, mechanics, CNC and programming.
Plasma cutting equipment
It is the system responsible for cutting the metal, the parameters that contribute to a satisfactory cut are: Technology (High definition or traditional), parameters used (amperage and gas), cutting speed, gas purity, quality of consumables, state of consumables.
The type and composition of the material directly impacts the cutting results and should be considered as a possible cause of variations between differences in the cut. For example, we will see differences if we cut carbon steel, stainless or aluminum. The percentage of carbon, magnesium, zinc, in a material or if it has oxide, dust or film on its surface are determining factors for the final result.
Motion or mechanical machine
Differences in quality and precision of motion guide and transmission components can vary greatly from machine to machine. We must take into account at a mechanical level the smoothness of the movement, vibrations in the structure, accelerations and decelerations. Regarding the CNC, we must consider the positioning precision, the repeatability or, for example, if the machine equips a height control (THC). In terms of software and programming, it is important to know how factors such as inputs and outputs in cuts, turns in corners, speed changes while cutting, holes and bevel cuts or the efficiency of nesting affect.
From Motocono we advise to analyze the always documented cutting samples in terms of speed, thickness, amperage, gases and cutting technology in order to draw a clear conclusion regarding the cutting quality of a machine.