Powermax system performance: Air quality

Here’s what you need to know about filtering your air.

By Max Williams, Hypertherm
Posted on 07/28/2020 in SPARK the blog, Plasma cutting

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As a sales manager for Hypertherm, it is my job to support our customers and ensure they get the most out of their Hypertherm equipment. During my 10+ years in industrial sales, I'm often asked to give onsite assessments and I’ve seen a lot during these visits. My advice is if you own a Powermax® air plasma system now or are considering purchasing one, keep air quality in mind. Air quality determines the level of productivity and success you can attain, and high-quality air is critical for peak Powermax performance. 

High-quality air

This seems so obvious and I’m positive I’m not telling you anything new. We all know we need dry, clean air. It’s why companies invest in sophisticated filtering systems for their air compressors, and it’s why countless shop managers and foremen are confident their shop air is dry and clean. Unfortunately, people often overlook what happens to the air after it leaves the compressor.

When air travels around the shop, sometimes through hundreds of feet of pipe, condensation builds-up in the lines due to temperature variations. Also, a single line of air might be feeding air to several tools. Since each tool is lubricated at the connection point, that oil can back-feed into the air line, passing this contaminant downstream. By the time the air reaches the Powermax, this build-up of moisture and impurities are fed directly into the Powermax system. This significantly decreases consumable life, compromises cut quality, and may even cause harm to the torch and power supply.

For the best performance, it’s important to filter the air yet again at the Powermax gas inlet. Hypertherm offers a special air filter for just this reason. It prevents water and particles from reaching the plasma system. If you already have a filter, great. If not, then I strongly recommend you buy one. This filter will save you money in the long run by extending the life of your consumables, torch, and power supply. It will also improve cut quality.

Installing the air filter

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Hooking up the filter is easy. You can either install it on the back of your Powermax, just like you see in the photo above, or mount it on the wall with our custom wall bracket. This way, when you hook your air line up to this filter, you can ensure the air feeding to the Powermax system is dry and clean.

You can order this air filter kit by itself from an authorized Hypertherm distributor. The part number is 128647. Hypertherm also sells the filter in a kit with a protective steel guard (shown below) that protects the filter from getting knocked out of place. You can also purchase this guard separately if you already have the filter. These part numbers can be found on our website.  

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Lastly, keep in mind that for your filter to work, you’ll need to routinely change out the 1-micron filter element inside it. The sight glass on-top of the filter unit will change from green to red, signaling it’s time to do that. Replacing the element is easy. Unscrew the filter bowl, take out the old filter element, and replace it with a new one. Then screw the bowl back into place. The part number for a replacement filter element is 011092.

Operational improvements

With the addition of this air filter, the potential cost savings cannot be overstated. I promise you will save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars over the life of the Powermax system.

Learn more about protecting your Powermax investment.