An ounce of prevention - Daily cleaning and inspection tasks for your plasma cutter
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Routinely clean and inspect your plasma cutter and it's equipment and the odds of something going wrong are much lower. This post will focus on cleaning and inspection of industrial plasma systems like Hypertherm’s HyPerformance HPRXD or MAXPRO200. There are four things you want to do every single day your system is turned on.
1. Verify gas inlet pressure. Test both the “test pre-flow” and “cutflow” modes by making sure your regulator dial reaches the recommended PSI.
2. Inspect the air filters. You’re checking for moisture, oil, and particulates. If you see moisture, oil, or a lot of metal dust for example, you’ll need a new filter. If you only see a little dust or dirt, try to lightly vacuum it off. All air filters need eventual replacement, but if you’re going through more than your fair share then you likely have an issue with the quality of your air and should check its purity.
3. Check your coolant level and condition. If the level is below the neck of the tank, add more. If the coolant looks dirty, flush out your tank and refill it with fresh coolant.
4. Inspect your torch. Hypertherm strongly recommends taking your torch into an office or other clean place to do this. Also, wash your hands. Typically, the two items requiring careful inspection are the o-ring and coolant tube. Remove the o-rings from the torch and check for damage. If all looks good, apply a very small amount of lubricant to your finger tips and lightly rub this lubricant onto the o-ring. The o-ring should look shiny but you should not see any lubricant. If you do, you’ve applied too much and should wipe some off. Replace all o-rings so they fit snugly, then inspect all threaded consumables and remove any dirt that you see. You’ll also want to inspect the water tube to make sure it isn’t out of round, bent, or pitted. Inspect the nozzle and electrode mating surface for damage, then take a clean cloth and wipe off the torch, both inside and outside. Use a cotton swab if needed to clean hard to reach areas.