Could you be inadvertently be impacting the life of your plasma cutting consumables?
Today’s consumables are designed to withstand hours of arc-on cutting, but do you find they aren’t lasting as long as you think they should?
Some errors are an easy fix, we take a look at some of the issues you might be experiencing and most common solutions below.
Symptoms of dead consumables.
- A thicker plasma arc, producing a wider cut/kerf. This will be due to the nozzle wearing, creating a larger hole in the tip.
- More dross is being produced. This could also be down to the nozzle and electrode requiring replacement.
In general, you will see a decrease in cut quality, this is the time to inspect them and check if replacement parts are required.
Troubleshooting tips to prolong consumable life.
- Use original, manufacturer products. Although cheaper, copies are often poor quality and not manufactured to the same tolerances as the originals. As the saying goes, buy cheap buy twice! Consumable usage can also affect manufacturer warranties, if you aren’t using original parts your warranty will be void.
- Torch height control is too high or too low.
- Arc voltage is not adjusted if needed.
- Gas flow or pressure settings on the CNC are incorrect.
- Cut speed needs checking – either too fast or too slow.
- Incorrect process selection for the material and thickness being cut.
- O-Ring lubrication needs checking (either over or under lubricated).
- Incorrect cleaning tools have been used.
- Wrong consumables have been selected for the job (material, thickness etc.).
- Worn consumables have been put back in the torch.
- Consumables have been installed incorrectly.
- Torch is in poor condition.
- Too much dross on the table slats.
- Improper grounding of the table and work piece.
In summary, often the reason for shortened consumable life is related to a probelm with your CNC settings, your cutting table or the condition of your torch or consumables.
All of these variables need to be at optimum levels for the best results, so it’s more than worth fixing these errors.
If you do you could expect to extend the life of your consumables by up to 50%!
Meaning you can reduce any unnecessary costs like cutting replacement parts for substandard originals, additional consumables when not required and material wastage.
There are some great resources and videos on Hypertherm’s website to help maintain your plasma cutting power source.