There is currently nothing that can compete with a CNC plasma cutter’s ability to cut materials with industrial strength. However, stronger cutting inevitably entails more risks. Despite their value, plasma cutters are extremely dangerous devices that need several safety measures. Let’s examine the risks that surround them and how a plasma cutter can be used properly.
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How does plasma cutting work?
Plasma is referred to as the “fourth state.” It is far less frequent than the other states of matter. Plasma can cut through practically any substance and is produced by super-heating gases like argon, nitrogen, or oxygen to temperatures over 15,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Manufacturers can control the plasma with a plasma cutter, enabling very precise cuts. Plasma cutters are common equipment in many industries because of their high adaptability and control.
A weapon with this much power that is widely available carries a lot of risks. For this reason, anyone wishing to use one must first receive training and certification in its use.
Risks Associated with Plasma Cutters
Plasma cutters pose four basic physical risks to every user. Which are:
- Burning/damage from heat
- Electrical jolt
- The glare could harm your eyes
- Possibility of fire damage
It’s necessary to consider each risk and the possibility of inhaling metal or gas. Using a plasma cutter safely requires vigilance and common sense. Therefore, if you ever plan to, consider the following.
Risks of Heat Damage and Fire
A pure plasma arc is nearly as hot as the surface of the sun. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that exposure to temperatures this high can have serious negative effects on both the user and the environment in which they work.
Anyone wishing to utilize a plasma cutter must also possess the necessary personal protection gear.
- Heat-resistant Gloves: these provide you with a lot of control and freedom of movement.
- Welding Mask or Shielded Visor: the face and eyes must be shielded to avoid any loss of control or disturbance of the tool’s operation.
- Respirator: this keeps your mouth, nose, and face safe while supplying your lungs with the oxygen they require.
Although not absolutely necessary, additional PPE like overalls, welder’s bibs, and armored shoes are strongly advised. The location where you plan to operate the plasma cutter must also be suitably shielded. After removal, offcuts and sparks will maintain their high temperatures and present a risk of igniting or causing a fire in the vicinity.
Remove all scraps safely, and keep water and fire extinguishers close by in case a fire starts. To avoid the buildup of high temperatures, only use the tool for brief periods of time.
Keeping Your Eyes Safe
Similar to welding, cutting with plasma produces a bright glow where the arc strikes the metal. PPE must be worn to safeguard your eyes. The lenses of welding masks or goggles have filters over them that significantly reduce glare and provide the wearer with more control over the instrument. The tool should be used in brief bursts to make sure the cut line is still being followed, frequent pauses are required.
Cutting Debris and Gases
The waste generated during cutting is the final risk that plasma cutters present. Gases and debris will unavoidably emanate from the plasma cutting tip as the tool is operated. The cut will release metallic dust, which will become airborne. If this dust inhalation is sustained over an extended period, lung damage will result. Your PPE should include a respirator, which you should always wear while cutting.
Those who frequently use arc welders and plasma cutters are susceptible to metal fume fever. It is readily prevented by making sure that no fumes can pass through the seals of a respirator. It is brought on by inhaling too much of the fumes produced during the cutting process.
Plasma cutters have the uncompromising strength to cut through a range of metals. However, there are several dangers associated with their use that must be controlled. You can lessen your exposure to potential risks related to plasma cutting by following the safety equipment and advice described above when using a CNC plasma cutter.