TIPS to Maximize Productivity
If you’re responsible for keeping the plasma cutting systems and the production line running smoothly, take a look at the productivity tips below. One of them just might solve a plasma cutting problem and, we hope, keep your day stress free.
Inspect your torch coolant and verify it is clean and free of contaminants.
Contaminants in the coolant can damage the consumables, decrease their lifespan, and make premature change-outs necessary.
• Regularly check the coolant by examining the filter, coolant tank and the return line where coolant enters the tank. If you see any sediment or contaminant, change the coolant. It’s important to clean the tank and lines, by draining and flushing, before you refill the system.
• Installing a flow meter on the coolant return line before the reservoir will allow you to make a fast visual check on the system at anytime.
• Flush and drain coolant system at least once a year, or more often in heavy use situations.
Read the complete article about plasma cooling systems here – 5 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR COOL
Don’t run the consumables to failure, but instead change electrodes before they begin to degrade.
Running consumables to the point of failure can result in costly repair or replacement of torch bodies.
• Change-out copper/hafnium electrodes when the hafnium pit is .040 to .050 in depth. In Figure 1, Electrodes A
are acceptable for continued use, but electrode C
should be replaced. (Our silver AG electrodes can run to .080 pit depth.)
• For the best quality cut, it’s a good practice to change out electrode and nozzle when you replace the electrode.
Use the latest nozzle and electrode designs for your equipment.
Plasma cutting is a continually evolving technology and the latest nozzle designs can increase cut quality, cut speed, and productivity dramatically.
• Stay up to date by using the latest torch and consumables designs. Be sure to use matched sets of torch bodies, nozzles, shields and electrodes and keep a “set-up” (an assembled consumable stack that’s ready to install) on hand.
• Don’t wait until the last minute to order spares. Not having replacement consumables on hand when you need them could halt production, and replacing a component with “something close” is not an option. Doing so will result in short consumable life, poor quality cuts and could lead to catastrophic failure of the torch.
• Keep your consumables clean. Store the parts in original protective packaging, or store in an airtight container. Wash your hands to remove any oil or contaminants before installing new consumables.
Perform regular system maintenance.
Minimize overall downtime from plasma cutting problems by keeping your system in optimum condition with regular maintenance. Download our Checklist For Maintaining Consumable Life to make sure you’re making the most of your consumables. The following are just a few of the maintenance tasks required.
• Daily Tasks – test inlet pressure, check air filters, examine o-rings, check coolant condition, examine water tube.
• Weekly Tasks – check coolant level, check coolant flow, check hoses and torch leads.
• Monthly Tasks – examine pilot arc relay, hoses, cables, ground connections, coolant system, clean inside power supply.
Keep your gas supply system in optimal condition.
Gas supply problems are one of the common issues related to short consumable life. Leaks effect flow rates and impurities in the system, e.g., moisture will upset the precise balance of gas flow rate, swirl pattern, arc velocity, and energy. The result is rapid erosion of the electrode hafnium, damage to the nozzle orifice and steady decline of the torch cut quality.
• Verify that the piping is not rusty, i.e., pieces of rust entering the system, and the torch will cause damage.
• Verify that the gas supply and delivery system are properly sized. The compressor capacity and pipe diameter must be able to maintain the flow rates required by your plasma cutting system.
• Inspect the compressor pump and assure it’s pistons are in good shape. If the pump requires additional oil on a regular basis, it could be leaking oil past the piston rings into the system.
• Make sure that the compressor air intake filter is clean and not near a contaminant source, e.g., dust.
•Operators should not make manual adjustments to system gas flow on their own.
Have a plasma cutting problem or questions about your CNC plasma machine?
Ask for our Plasma Technical Specialist