What To Consider When You Need An Air Compressor For Plasma Cutting

best Air Compressor For Plasma Cutting

The needs of your business determine the type of air compressor required. But if you don’t want to purchase a separate air compressor, you may consider a plasma cutter with an integrated air compressor. This device is suitable for welding, construction work, auto mechanics, plumbing, or simple household chores that necessitate cutting of metals. Note that plasma cutters with factory-built air compressors can use standard household electric power and are designed for cutting thin metals which are below 0.625”. The greatest advantage of in-built air compressors is portability. Check the factors you must consider when looking for a best air compressor for plasma cutting.

How to choose the best Air compressor for plasma cutting

1.The size

The size of the air compressor depends on a number of factors:

    A. Pressure requirements of the plasma cutter

It would be a waste of time to choose an air compressor that is too small as it would take too long to build the required pressure. On the other hand, resources would be wasted if it is too big. The right compressor should offer sufficient airflow, which is calibrated in CFM (cubic feet per minute). The CFM output is supposed to exceed the requirements of plasma cutting operation should be lower than the optimal CFM output. For instance, 0.5” wrench needs an air flow of 5CFM at ninety pounds psi in which case the CFM output must be higher than this to ensure efficiency of the device. Greater volumes and higher air pressures need more electrical accessories, high horsepower, and bigger plasma cutting systems.

    B. The scope of cutting

The minimum pressure and airflow for different application are normally indicated in the user’s manual. Perhaps you want to cut steel for hobby purposes. You will require an air compressor whose CFM rating is greater than plasma. But when your operations are heavy, plasma cutter advisor recommends that you get an air compressor which is double the plasma system or at least 1.5 times greater.

2. Air contamination

The efficiency and lifespan of a plasma system are dependent on a number of factors like air purity, type of plate being cut, the pressure of the incoming air, cutting methods, and amperage. The compressed air may be contaminated because it comes directly from the atmospheric air. The most common contaminant is humidity which gets into the compressor tank and is stored together with the compressed air. Air compressors receive air at prevailing atmospheric pressure. They then raise the pressure inside their chambers.

If the air taken contains moisture, it condensed inside the chamber especially when the climate is chilly. Heat is created by the compressor pump to increase the temperature of the air that flows into the receiver. The humidity plus the warm air are conveyed to receiver tank and then to the plumbing system. Air will cool down inside the pipes and the accompanying humidity condenses into water droplets, making the pressure to go down. This moisture is passed on to the plasma torch and that is how a mist of water occurs during cutting. The cut quality therefore dwindles and the life expectancy of the entire system reduces. 

The compressor tank needs to be drained regularly to eliminate excess moisture. An important thing that should be done is to install a filtration system that absorbs humidity before it gets into the compressor tank. Compressed air systems don’t function well where there is moisture. There are other accessories that remove moisture through an automatic drain mechanism as soon as it begins to accumulate in the reservoir tank. Such filters are available in automotive stores. 

3. Capacity of the compressor tank

The required volume of compressor tank is a factor of the nature of the application at hand. Smaller tanks are suitable for quick and smaller plasma cutting while larger tanks are necessary for large-scale operations.

4. The required horsepower

It is of utmost importance that the compressor generates sufficient air as per the horsepower needs. High horsepower demands greater volumes and the opposite is true.

5. Budget

Plasma cutters with internal air compressors are pricier when compared to those without compressors. However, their cutting power is the same. The rationale for the high price is obvious: the unit has two systems combined. If you are experiencing financial constraints, it’s best if you purchase a stand-alone air compressor and use it with your regular plasma cutter. Nevertheless, you will have to forego the added benefit of portability which a complete system offers. Again, your choice depends on what you plan to do with your plasma cutter and if a separate air compressor would be more advantageous for you.

6. Air leak

These are the major causes of energy inefficiency in air compressors. A routine check-up for air leak must be put in place as soon as the compressor is bought. Ultrasonic leak detectors are used to check such irregularities. Loss of air from the main tank can lead to a huge loss per year which can be prevented by hiring a leak auditor once in a while. Leaks are normally caused by corrosion and accelerated by dirt accumulation inside the compressor tank.

7. Extra features

Apart from the tank size, pressure requirements and air flow, consider additional features like finger valves made of stainless steel to minimize corrosion. Other devices which might also be necessary include oil monitors to prevent issues that occur due to low levels of oil. Remember that higher the number of extras, the higher will be the maintenance cost.

8. Future plans

When choosing an air compressor, future demand must be considered. If the plasma cutting operations will require additional technicians in future, then a bigger compressor would be the right choice. Note that the cost depends on the durability of the machine. That’s why cheap systems wear out fast and their operations are inefficient. Invest in quality compressor if you want to enjoy stress-free plasma cutting experience. 

9 The reputation of the selling company

Find out the number of years that the air compressor suppliers have served clients. Some companies are the manufacturers of the models they sell while others are retailers. Also, note the scope of the machines they provide as well as their corresponding accessories. You want to purchase a system you know you can find its replacement parts in future. Do not forget to check the distribution networks of the company, the qualifications of the employees, and their customer service. The best company provides highly efficient machines and receives high ratings when it comes to customer reviews.

Are you tired of the bulky air compressors? You can put it to rest by choosing an air compressor that is assimilated into the system of the plasma cutter. Plasma Cutter Advisor offers the best prices and advice you could ever want.

Mary T. White
 

Hi everyone, I’m a trained AC service technician who uses several tools in my profession. I created this interactive platform to share experiences and vital information. Feel free to share your views and ask any question.

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