Amps vs. true cutting power

By Hypertherm
Posted on 08/07/2014 in SPARK the blog, Plasma cutting

Hypertherm recently presented a webinar on amps vs. true cutting power. It's a topic that sometimes causes confusion as there's a belief among some people that amperage determines the "power" of your system. It's not unusual to hear someone claim their 40 amp system is more powerful than another persons 30 amp system and so on. We hear it all the time!

The thing to know is that amperage is only part of the equation when it comes to the cutting power of a plasma system. The thing that really determines power output is watts (or kilowatts.) To get to that number you need to multiply amps by volts. This is what we mean when we say amps is only part of the equation. So...

Amps x Volts = Watts

Hypertherm's Powermax65 is a 65 amp system with a rated output voltage of 139 volts. Here's what the equation looks like:

65 Amps x 139 Volts = 9, 035 Watts (or 9 Kilowatts)

Now, let's compare the Powermax65 with a non-Hypertherm system. That system has more amps but less volts. Here's what that equation looks like:

80 Amps x 113 Volts = 9,040 Watts (or 9 Kilowatts)

Even though the competitive system has 15 more amps, it is no more powerful than the Powermax65.

Here's another example, using two Hypertherm products this time: our recently retired Powermax30 versus our new Powermax30 XP.

From the name you can probably guess that these are both 30 amp systems. However, the amount of cutting power is quite different because the Powermax30 XP has more volts. Here's a side by side look:

System Powermax30 Powermax30 XP
Amps 30 30
Volts 83 125
Watts (Kilowatts) 2,490 (2.49) 3,750 (3.75)

Your eyes are not deceiving you! Even though both of these systems have the exact same number of amps (30), the Powermax30 XP is much more powerful thanks to a higher number of volts which results in a greater number of kilowatts!

So the next time you're out shopping for a plasma system, don't just look at amps. Find out the number of volts in the system as well.

This is obviously just a short and sweet explanation. For a deeper dive on this subject, watch the archive version of our "Amps vs. true cutting power" webinar.

Also, don't miss the next issue of our SPARK eNewsletter (coming soon!) in which Jim Colt talks about the impact of kilowatts on duty cycle.

See more real world examples in our new infographic