When to change Hypertherm cartridges for Powermax SYNC systems

Posted on 10/15/2021 in Setup and support, Plasma cutting

The SmartSYNC™ torches on the Powermax SYNC™ plasma cutting systems use a one-piece cartridge consumable that automatically sets operating mode and amperage. Like all consumables, the cartridge will wear during cutting and gouging operations and will eventually need to be replaced. This short video describes the process for evaluating wear on Hypertherm cartridges for Powermax SYNC systems and suggestions for when to change them.

The Powermax SYNC systems have an end-of-life detection feature for the cartridge to prevent overuse, which can lead to torch and/or workpiece damage. When the power supply detects the cartridge is nearing the end of useful life, the system stops cutting, and the yellow fault LED illuminates. The end-of-life error code 0-32-0 will appear on the system display. At this point, the cartridge should be replaced and recycled. The end-of-life detection feature ensures you change the cartridge before damage occurs.

However, depending on cutting and/or gouging needs, there can be other reasons to replace the cartridge, such as cut quality. As the cartridge wears, cut quality degrades and cut speed may slow even though the cartridge can still cut.

Inspect the cartridge

  • Start by putting the torch in the lock position. You should see the LED status light change from green to yellow. Notice the yellow fault light LED on the power supply illuminates. Locking the torch will prevent it from accidentally firing.

  • Next, remove the cartridge from the torch. Inspect the orifice of the integrated copper nozzle for roundness. An irregular shaped orifice will not focus the arc properly, leading to poor cut quality and reduced cutting speeds. If it is notched or egg-shaped, the cartridge should be replaced.

  • A cartridge should also be replaced if the outer shield or retaining cap assembly show signs of excessive wear or damage.

  • Once the cartridge has been replaced, slide the lock switch to the green “ready to fire” position.
    • To test, point the torch away from yourself and pull the trigger.

    • You should hear 5 warning puffs of air.

    • The system will fire on the next trigger pull.

    • You are now ready to cut with the new cartridge.

  • Keep in mind that dirty or wet air can impact cartridge life. If your cartridges seem to be wearing prematurely, check the air pressure settings and inspect the air filter bowl and filter for contaminants. If dirty, replace the filter.

  • Make sure that 80% of your cutting is at the recommended thickness or below. Severance cutting will wear the cartridge faster.


Please refer to the recommended guidelines in the operator manual for best results.

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