Plasma cutting is a process that is used to cut steel and other metals
of different thicknesses (or sometimes other materials) using a plasma
torch. In this process, an inert gas (in some units, compressed air) is
blown at high speed out of a nozzle; at the same time an electrical arc
is formed through that gas from the nozzle to the surface being cut,
turning some of that gas to plasma. The plasma is sufficiently hot to
melt the metal being cut and moves sufficiently fast to blow molten
metal away from the cut. Plasma can also be used for plasma arc welding
and other applications.
Plasma cutter has also been used in CNC (computer numerically controlled) machinery. Manufacturers build CNC cutting tables, some with the cutter built in to the table. The idea behind CNC tables is to allow a computer to control the torch head making clean sharp cuts. Modern CNC plasma equipment is capable of multi-axis cutting of thick material, allowing opportunities for complex welding seams on CNC welding equipment that is not possible otherwise. For thinner material cutting, plasma cutting is being progressively replaced by laser cutting, due mainly to the laser cutter's superior hole-cutting abilities.
A specialized use of CNC Plasma cutters has been in the HVAC industry. Software will process information on ductwork and create flat patterns to be cut on the cutting table by the plasma torch. This technology has enormously increased productivity within the industry since its introduction in the early 1980s.
In recent years there has been even more development in the area of CNC Plasma Cutting Machinery. Traditionally the machines' cutting tables was horizontal but now due to further research and development Vertical CNC Plasma Cutting Machine are available. This advancement provides a machine with a small footprint, increased flexibility, optimum safety, faster operation, energy efficiency, ergonomic and more environmentally friendly.