OPERATOR’S GUIDE: PLASMA CUTTING SYSTEMS EFFECTIVE MAINTENANCE
Plasma cutting machines are becoming increasingly used in a wide array of applications. Any Investment in new cutting equipment is a significant decision where major breakdowns or minor performance decreases can affect overall productivity.
Budgeting, assessment of market offerings, and consideration of return on investment are all important factors to ultimately make a well informed decision in purchasing any product and particularly when choosing the right plasma cutting machine.
Proper maintenance and regularly checking vital components ensure equipment maintains excellent condition. Regular service, upkeep, and adhering to manufacturer recommendations all support the optimal performance levels and promote high quality results.
In this brief guide we’ll highlight some maintenance ideas and intervals that can help to ensure components in your plasma cutter keep operating smoothly.
Why is maintenance important?
Maintenance for plasma cutting machines is crucial, falling into three key categories: safety, ROI, and performance. Safety is paramount, ensuring industrial machinery operates without risks. Regular maintenance extends machine lifespan, improving ROI, and maintains top-notch cutting quality and efficiency.
Before each use
1. Inspect the torch body and handle. If the torch body is cracked, it will collect more debris affecting safety. Any damaged components should be repaired or replaced to prevent gas leaks and ensure safe operation of the plasma cutter.
2. Check the power cable and leads for any cuts, fraying, or exposed wires. Repair or replace if damage is found. Any twists or high-strain points in the wire should be further inspected for damage that could affect performance of the plasma cutting system.
3. Ensure the correct installation of consumables. Check the orifice is round and free of any debris lodged between the shield and nozzle. Apply a thin coat of dielectric to the torch O-ring if it is dry. If the O-ring is missing or damaged, replace it with a new lubricated o-ring.
4. Connect the system to the input power supply, release pressure on the gas regulator, connect the air line, switch the system to the “ON” state. After the automatic diagnostic check, inspect and if needed, adjust the air pressure to the desired value. Once all checks and necessary adjustments are made, proceed with usage.
1. Inspect the torch body for cracks or exposed wires. Check handheld torch safety trigger for debris and test proper operation.
2. Remove power and Inspect cap sensor safety switch behind consumables. Ensure free of debris.
3. Check all cables for strain relief and power cords for wear, and exposed wires. Correct issues and replace cables or wires if needed.
4. Check connector hoses, and connections. Ensure fittings are secure and free of damage. Replace if necessary.
5. Check the work lead clamp and ensure tight fit to avoid arcing and contamination.
6. Check torch consumables for wear.
7. If your machine has any sensors, ensure proper operation.
1. Ensure proper operation of safety switch to prevent accidental firing during use of handheld or mechanized torches.
2. Clean machine with degreaser and a rag to remove any excess metal, dirt, and grease.
1. Maintain primary air filter and any accessory air filters.
2. Inspect fiilter for dirt and o-ring for wear, cracks and pinches.
3. Verify clean, dry, air free of oil or contaminates from air compressor to plasma cutter, purge excess moisture buildup.
Every 3 Months
1. Check the cutting torch exposed wire or cracks in the torch body.
2. Check the gas hose, filter elements and connections for leaks.
3. Check with your manufacturer to determine if any new maintenance is recommended, cleaning with compressed air can keep your machine at peak performance.
1. Have a professional safety inspection performed by a trained technician if removing the cover.
2. Examine maintenance logs and assess future maintenance requirements.
If any damage is found during an inspection, always identify and assess any damage to the input power lead/plug, torch, torch lead, airline hose, connectors, or filter components. When necessary, repair or replace the damaged components accordingly. Do not operate the system unless it fully complies with safety standards. Always take necessary precautions to avoid exposure to dust and contaminants. Prioritize your safety, the safety of your colleagues, and the environment. Wear the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as required by your organization and local laws.
Photo: Archive of Thermacut, k.s.
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