Your plasma cutter and the plasma consumables require regular inspection and replacement of its parts if it is to work effectively and cut metal with of the highest quality. Regular replacement also ensures the safety of a plasma cutter. Correct parts increase the life of the torch and make it safer to use.
A plasma cutter uses ionized gas or plasma at high temperature to cut metal. The nozzle at the tip of the cutter concentrates the gas before using a spark to turn that concentrated stream of gas into plasma. The heat of the plasma, which reaches temperatures of up to 40,000 degrees Fahrenheit, is what cuts the metal in the direction and way the cutter wants it. The force of the plamsa exiting the nozzle also helps to blow the pieces of metal away from the body of the metal sheet being cut. Over the long run, the temperature and force is damaging to the body of the plasma torch too.
The components of the plasma torch that wear out the most often are the Electrode, the Shield and the Nozzle. The Swirl ring has a comparatively longer life and lasts through many changes of the other parts.
Plasma Consumables – The Electrode
Electrodes wear off gradually, which results in a lower quality of cut than the torch is capable of. Old and worn-out electrodes can also damage the plasma torch in other ways. You can find the wear of an electrode by examining its insert and measuring the depth of its pit. Correct torch parts go a long way in reducing wear of an electrode. Other than mismatched parts, some other factors in making an electrode wear more are gas leaks, incorrect gas settings, build up of moisture and impurities in the gas being used.