In manufacturing time is money. The faster you can do something, the more you can gain from the same time spent. This also means that the more time you waste, the more money you lose. Simple, right? Not so much. Speed in automated plasma cutting refers to 2 things – speed of cutting and speed of positioning. One is driven by the capabilities of the power source, the other by the capabilities of the machine. Cut speed is driven by the parameters outlined by the power source manufacturer. They differ from machine speed as this is the actual speed of cutting, which varies between thicknesses, material and processes. For instance, a 3mm mild steel profile will cut much quicker than a 12mm one. These figures, known as “cut charts” are stored within the software and dictate everything from pierce time to linear cutting speed – every aspect of the process. With Hypertherm power sources and controls, which Plazmax exclusively use as a Hypertherm OEM, this data has undergone decades of development and testing to ensure the optimum cut at ever increasing speeds. As the materials get thicker (roughly 6mm), plasma starts overtaking most lasers, completely eclipsing them when reaching 12mm and over. Positioning speed refers to the time it takes to move when not cutting. Also known as the “rapids”, this is how fast the torch can move to each new point to cut. This really becomes important when you need to cut a lot of parts. Machines can have the same cut speeds (as these are designated by the manufacturer as stated above) but if they are slower to reposition, then each new cut makes the overall job take much more time to complete. When you’ve got 100 parts with 4 holes, meaning 5 repositions per part, then you can see how speed becomes a critical factor in maximising productivity from your machine. Plazmax machines have been designed and built to push the limits of how fast CNC plasma machines can go, with the entry-level CutAce LT rated at 40m/min, and the mighty plate processing CutPro HS maxing out at 60m/min (moving a machine that can handle 3000mm wide plate this fast is a sight to behold!). Most plasma machines on the market sit at the 15-25m/min mark – our machines are twice as fast. All this makes for more parts being produced. As mentioned in a previous article speed is nothing without the acceleration to compensate. Any gain made by being fast is not only made redundant, but actually causes degradation in cut quality and increase in time to complete the job as the machine will take longer to speed up and slow down when operating. Parts that are produced are not ready to use, requiring extra work to prepare for welding, folding etc. If you need to add extra processes to parts, what’s the point of a “fast” machine? That is why Plazmax machines are design to be rigid, driven by powerful high-end motors and gearboxes, all controlled with the best control technology, to ensure smooth and accurate cutting.
And that, is the advantage Plazmax brings to you and your business.