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Hypertherm’s roots date to 1968, when Hypertherm president Dick Couch and an associate, Bob Dean, made the greatest breakthrough since the initial discovery of plasma cutting fourteen years earlier. They discovered that by radially injecting water into a plasma cutting nozzle, they could create a narrower arc, capable of cutting metal with a speed and accuracy never before seen. In addition, two issues that had plagued the industry from the start–the accumulation of dross and a phenomenon called double-arcing–were virtually eliminated.
Hypertherm’s new water injection technique introduced another first to the industry. Instead of relying on several different types of gas for cutting, the Hypertherm system relied on only one: nitrogen. This single gas requirement made plasma cutting more economical and easier to use since customers no longer had to purchase and stock several different types of gas. Customers also saw a marked improvement in nozzle life because steam from the water helped to cool and protect the nozzle, significantly slowing down its wear rate.
Mr. Couch quickly patented his new radially injected water technique and unveiled Hypertherm’s very first plasma cutter, the PAC400. For the first time, plasma was a real option for people needing to quickly and cost-effectively cut through metal. The popularity of the PAC400 grew, as did Hypertherm’s reputation as the world leader in plasma cutting.
Focus, inspiration, and determination led Mr. Couch and Hypertherm associates to innovate further. They had one goal in mind: to make plasma cutting more accurate, more cost effective, safer and easier for people to use.
Whether it was reducing the noise and smoke caused by plasma cutting, developing underwater and oxygen based systems, or finding ways to build even faster and more accurate systems, Hypertherm was at the forefront.
More than 40 years and nearly 100 patents later, innovations to improve cut quality, extend service life, enhance productivity, and lower operating costs are still the norm at Hypertherm. In fact, the company dedicates more resources to plasma research, development, and testing than any other plasma cutting manufacturer in the world. That research and development has led to a number of industry firsts in the last few years alone. Technologies like the advent of a 15 degree plasma torch, for easier gouging and cutting in hard to reach areas; the first fiber laser system specifically optimized for cutting; and a collection of integrated plasma cutting solutions which enable the cutting of bolt-ready holes, an increase in the number of parts cut per hour, and longer consumable life.
In short, experience, innovation, and a relentless commitment to excellence, ensure Hypertherm’s cutting systems remain a cut above anything else on the market today. They ensure people who use them can cut with confidence.