Robotic plasma cutting is effective for cutting thin and thick materials that are generally electrically conducive such as steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and copper. During the plasma cutting process an electrical arc is created when compressed gas (oxygen, air, or inert) is blown through a nozzle at a high speed toward a workpiece. The electrical arc causes the gas to become ionized, turning it into a channel of plasma. The electricity from the torch then travels down the channel of plasma to the workpiece, creating a spark that melts and blows away the molten material simultaneously to produce a cut.
Benefits of Plasma Cutting Robots
The benefits of replacing manual plasma cutters with robots like the FANUC Arcmate 100ic are numerous. Some of the key benefits include:
Accuracy - Plasma cutting requires are great deal of accuracy in order to produce high quality cuts. Robots are capable of maintaining the correct amount of distance between the torch and the workpiece to ensure cuts produce clean edges that will not damage the rest of the material. Even older robots such as the FANUC Arcmate 100ib have a repeatability of .08MM, making the margin of erro almost zero. Robots are also easily programmed to stay on course and adjust their motions for any variances without compromising the integrity of the workpiece.
Speed - Plasma cutting requires high speeds in order for cuts to be made through the metals. Robots are capable of producing and maintaining these high speeds without deviation. Their speed not only ensures cuts are made but also increases productivity. Plasma cutting robots like the Yaskawa Motoman MA1400 are capable of cutting up to 500 inches per minute, a rate that is impossible for a human worker to match.
Safety - Workforce safety is increased when plasma cutting robots are used to replace workers. These industrial robots are designed to handle the high heat, sparks, and hot metals that can cause harm to humans. With industrial robots manufacturers do not have to worry about worker injury claims due to burns, arc eye, or the inhalation of toxic fumes all which could have long term adverse health effects.
Reduced Costs - Costs are significantly reduced with the integration of robotic plasma cutting. Manufacturers no longer need to endure high production costs as robots reduce the amount of wasted materials with their precision. Labor costs are also reduced as one robot can handle the workload of several workers.
Flexibility - Plasma cutting robots provide manufacturers with more flexibility and freedom in their designs. They can be easily programmed to be able to cut a variety of shapes on demand. From angles to curves to intricate cuts, robots are capable of handling any variations that come their way. These robots can also complete more than just plasma cutting applications. They are also capable of arc welding or finishing applications helping increase efficiency and streamline productions.