Heavy industry in the modern era of technology requires precise forming of metal components. In the days before technology, craftsmen and laborers used their skills to form the parts of steam engines, trains, railroads and other industrial supplies.
Technology made it possible to perform much more precise cuts that human labor could never accomplish. A technology known as plasma cutting allows for almost perfectly accurate cuts. Computer numerical control (CNC) makes plasma cutting one of the most highly regarded machining technologies available today.
A CNC plasma cutter uses computer-aided design and the most powerful state of matter there is to execute a flawless cut. An inert gas is heated to such extreme temperatures that it breaks down at the atomic level into highly charged particles. The collisions between these particles produce so much energy that plasma can melt metal like butter.
The head of a plasma cutter works by using a negatively-charged electrode to create a small electric circuit between itself and the metal to be cut. Once the circuit is created, an arc of electricity forms that ignites the gas into plasma. A second gas is used to shield the plasma from contact with the air and to get a clean cut.
CNC allows a plasma cutter to reach computerized perfection when it cuts. The operator programs the computer with a precise set of coordinates and a set of instructions to execute. The computer activates the plasma cutter and directs it to cut the metal into the programmed shape. This allows for extremely precise cuts, which makes it far easier to weld separate pieces together.
In the early days, plasma cutters were expensive. As research and development continued, the cost came down enough so that shop artists can use a portable cutter to create intricate pieces. Manufacturers use machine tools that are of a much higher quality than ever before. This increases the value added to all stages of production, which in turn raises productivity and profits.
CNC plasma cutters are used to make cars, military equipment, machining tools for intermediate production stages, aircraft parts and basic items metal brackets. These cutters are an essential part of modern industry and necessary for almost every manufacturing process. Plasma cutting can be applied to multiple types of metal, such as stainless steel, spring steel and carbon steel. Costs have lowered to make purchases of individual units feasible for even small businesses.