Plasma Arc Machining (PAM) can sound so alien and sophisticated to those who do not know what it means. However, it is a simple process that began in the 1960s to use less energy for arc welding.
PAM has revolutionized the material used in arc welding over time. It also has a host of other advantages that other processes lack. For instance, it can be used with almost all types of metals and requires less energy and maintenance, among other benefits. This article discusses the benefits and limitations of PAM and its applications.
What is Plasma Arc Machining?
Plasma Arc Machining (PAM) refers to a process that uses a high-velocity jet of high-temperature gas to melt and displace material on its path. It involves metal cutting with a plasma arc or tungsten inert gas arc torch. This torch produces a high-velocity jet of high-temperature ionized gas that cuts metal and removes material from the workpiece. The material you work on with the PAM is called the workpiece.
The temperature in the plasma zone range from 11000 to 28000℃ (20000 to 50000 F). PAM is occasionally used as an alternative oxyfuel gas cutting process that melts and vaporizes metals using high temperature electric arcing.
Depending on the material you are using, various gases can be used. The most common gases used are Nitrogen and Hydrogen. However, other types of gases can be used in Plasma Arc Machining. For superior machining and metal cutting services, you can contact Glenn Metalcraft Inc today.
Construction of PAM
Plasma Arc Machining consists of a plasma gun. This gun has an electrode made up of tungsten situated in the chamber. This tungsten electrode is then connected to a negative terminal of the DC power supply.
Hence, the tungsten acts as a cathode while the positive terminal of the DC power supply is connected to the nozzle. The nozzle of the plasma gun then acts as an anode.
Advantages of PAM
There are various reasons why Plasma Arc Machining stands out among its peers, and here are some of the reasons.
- Its ability to cut different types of metal materials makes it unique. While steel and aluminum are the commonly used metals, other tough and delicate metals are perfect for PAM.
- Using high-velocity gas allows the machine to eat away the material that should be cut and is not as hard on the machine as it would be on others. Importantly, since it uses gas, there is no actual contact between the actual plasma gun and the workpiece itself.
- The use of PAM results in more experienced and skilled workers who will find that their productivity and accuracy have increased due to the use of this tool.
- PAM has a cleaner operating style and uses almost no chemicals to operate. This makes it much safer to handle by the workers since there are no harsh chemicals that can jeopardize a worker’s well-being.
- Plasma arc machining requires less maintenance compared to similar tools that need regular and costly maintenance. This is because it does not create a ton of extra debris or get damaged by the chemicals used.
- Although expensive, plasma arc machining requires less energy to conduct operations, which means it is cost-effective in the long run. Its high-temperature gas allows it to work on more materials without extra effort.
Disadvantages of PAM
For everything that has advantages, it must have its disadvantages. Here are some of the limitations that bound plasma arc machining.
1) It is complicated to use thereby limiting the number of workers trained. The fact that it is expensive to acquire PAM limits the number of persons who can use it and get an acceptable return on investment. Additionally, the need for extra training limits the number of workers able to use these machines.
2) Plasma Arc Machining is not ideal for larger jobs. This is because it has high gas consumption rates despite increasing workers’ productivity. As such, it requires the purchase of additional gas.
3) The bulkiness of the machine often gets in the way of the worker, making it hard for them to see where the plasma arc is cutting. This greatly impairs the resulting products leading to losses in some instances.
4) The gas fumes and the high temperature used in the process can damage the workpiece, leading to losses in some instances, as well.
The Industrial Applications of PAM
- a) It is used for profile cutting.
- b) It is used for turning and milling hard to machines materials.
- c) It is used for cutting alloy steels, stainless steel, titanium, copper, cast iron, nickel, aluminum, and alloys of copper and nickel.
- d) It is also used in uniform thin film spraying of refractory materials on different metals, plastics, and ceramics.
Call on PAM
Plasma Arc Machining is an ideal metal cutting process that uses less energy to do more. It is also characterized by increasing the efficiency of workers.