Did you know plasma cutters offer more than just cutting capabilities? You can use a plasma cutter for gouging — an invaluable skill for removing welds and defects, beveling, preparing your workpiece, and much more.
Unlike metal cutting with plasma, gouging doesn’t pierce the material. With plasma gouging, the operator moves the plasma torch along the metal surface, effectively digging into the material and removing unwanted portions.
When gouging with a plasma cutter, however, experts recommend using shields and nozzles specifically designed for gouging to avoid accidentally cutting through the workpiece.
As a developer of premium-quality hypertherm plasma cutters, tables, and supplies, Cyrious Metal Works delves deeper into the process, techniques, and applications of plasma gouging.
What Is Plasma Arc Gouging?
Plasma gouging uses gas and electric current to create a plasma arc. Heat from the transferred arc melts the metal rapidly, and high gas pressure blows the molten metal away.
Specifically designed consumables and power supplies allow plasma gouging to produce a wider and less intense arc that blows away only some of the material.
The plasma gouging process removes material from a workpiece without piercing or severing it. You can perform plasma gouging using a mechanical aid, free hand, or on a fully automated CNC cutting table.
Plasma Gouging Techniques
Plasma cutter operators use various techniques to achieve different gouge profiles and sizes. The most popular technique involves positioning the torch at an angle to the work surface to generate an extensive arc.
After contact is made, the operator simply feeds or aims the arc in the direction they want to gouge.
Benefits of Plasma Gouging
A primary advantage of plasma gouging over carbon-arc and oxyfuel methods is that plasma works on any conductive ferrous and non-ferrous metal, from mild steel and stainless steel to copper and aluminum. Additional benefits of plasma gouging include:
- Fast Speeds: Generally, plasma has faster gouging speeds compared to carbon-arc gouging.
- Cleaner gouge profile: Plasma offers clean, smooth, and consistent gouges that require little to no secondary work such as grinding.
- Easy adoption: Thanks to its ease of use, plasma has a shorter learning curve. Companies spend much less time training operators.
- Enhanced safety: Reduced noise levels, fumes, and debris make plasma gouging a safer option compared to carbon-arc gouging or oxyfuel methods.
- Flexibility: The flexible integration of plasma with mechanized options, stationary fixtures, robotics, carriages, and so on makes plasma gouging more versatile in various applications.
- Easy system setup: Customized consumable gouging charts make system setup for new and existing operators seamless.
The versatility of plasma gouging makes it suitable for industries ranging from production and steel construction to maintenance. You can fit these systems with numerous torch options to fit various automated applications where carbon-arc technology wouldn’t work.
By minimizing secondary operations, plasma gouging can benefit your company’s bottom line.