Key Considerations When Buying a Commercial Plasma Cutter
There are some specific factors that stand out above the rest when it comes to finding the right plasma cutter for a commercial setting. Whether it’s a construction company, auto repair shop, or a custom fabrication studio, some needs clearly outrank others and will have a major impact on the final decision. The biggest factors, and how they affect the ultimate decision, are covered below.
Virtually every commercial entity has deadlines and quotas that they need to meet, which makes speed the utmost priority for nearly every employee and department. When it comes to plasma cutters, the time it takes to make a cut depends on several factors, including the type of metal being cut. One of the best ways to gauge a general speed rating for cuts is to look at the duty cycle of the unit, which refers to how long the cutter can operate continuously over a given period of time. A higher percentage means a longer period of operation, which means less time spent waiting. Just remember that duty cycles are measured according to a specific thickness.
Maximum Cut Thickness
Another huge consideration for any commercial entity is the thickness of the metal that it needs to cut, as it has a major impact on several other aspects of the unit. The maximum cut thickness refers to the thickest a piece of metal can be in order for the machine to cut through it cleanly and without issue. So, if a business knows that it typically cuts metal with a thickness of ¼ inch or less, then it only needs a unit with a maximum cut thickness of ¼ inch. It can be helpful to choose a model with a maximum cut thickness slightly higher than the typical standard in order to allow for some wiggle room for unexpected projects.
The power output of a plasma cutter, which is expressed in amps, determines how much it can cut and what types of metal it can cut. Generally speaking, commercial entities will want to choose models that have a higher rating, as they allow for better performance and more frequent use. Models with lower power ratings tend to have lower duty cycles and lower maximum cut thicknesses, which can severely impact performance over time.
Ease of Use
There are times when ease of use features can be incredibly beneficial for a commercial entity, specifically if they have multiple employees using the equipment or any special needs for projects. For example, a torch that has an adjustable trigger would allow for customization for a specific employee, which in turn would make operation a smoother process and allow that employee to increase her output and performance. These features are often less obvious when reading through product descriptions, with the potential benefits being specific to each employer and working situation.
Determining whether or not portability plays a key role for a business depends entirely on the type of work being done and the layout of the environment. Some commercial entities may only perform welding in a set, stationary location, so the weight and size of the unit won’t play a major role in choosing a model. However, situations where the cuts can occur in different areas that are not movable or easily accessible, a portable plasma cutter can make a serious impact on workflow.
Safety is incredibly important in a commercial environment, and all businesses need to adhere to strict safety guidelines when it comes to the working conditions of its employees. In terms of general safety, companies may wish to look for models that do not use or require any hazardous materials, and that are designed to function appropriately with the power supplies present in its facilities. Organizations such as OSHA also outline specific additional safety regulations and rules for different industries, so companies may need to refer to these rules in order to identify any additional safety needs or standards, such as the type of eye protection plasma arc operators wear.
Making the Choice
Finding the right commercial use plasma cutter may ultimately come down to trial and error, though taking a thorough evaluation of the company’s needs, requirements, and goals should help point buyers in the right direction. It may also help to speak with the employees who will use the units for more specific feedback, needs, and suggestions.