Hypertherm - Cut with Confidence

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History of Plasma Timeline

1941

The U.S. defense industry discovers a new welding process while researching better ways of joining metal together. The process, commonly referred to as TIG or GTAW involves feeding an inert gas through an electric arc.

1954

Scientists learn that increasing the gas flow and reducing the opening in the gas nozzle used in TIG welding results in the formation of a plasma jet. The jet is capable of cutting metal, however the technique isn’t widely used because a phenomenon called double arcing damages both the electrode and cutting nozzle.

1962
In an attempt to control double arcing, a dual flow technique is introduced. The technique involves adding a second gas shield around the plasma nozzle. Although lessened, double arcing is still a problem
1963

Air Plasma Cutting is introduced. Oxygen in the air increases cut speeds by about 25 percent over conventional dry plasma cutting, however it also results in a heavily oxidized cut surface and the rapid erosion of the electrode found inside the cutting nozzle.

1965

Water, instead of a second gas, is used in a new process called Water Shield Plasma Cutting. Nozzle life improves with this technique, however, the speed and quality of the cut, as well as dross accumulation, does not.

1968
Dick Couch, president of Hypertherm, invents what is perhaps the greatest breakthrough since the initial discovery of plasma cutting in the 1950s. Mr. Couch invents Water Injection Cutting, a process that involves radially injecting water into the nozzle. The end result is a faster and better cut, as well as less dross. Also, double arcing is virtually eliminated.
1972
Hypertherm makes plasma cutting safer by developing a water muffler and water table to lessen the noise, smoke, and light that traditionally occur during the cutting process.
1977

Hypertherm develops underwater cutting technology, allowing plasma cutting to take place under 2 to 3 inches of water.

1983

Hypertherm comes out with a new technique that involves using oxygen as the cutting gas and introducing water at the tip of the nozzle. This process called “Oxygen Injected Plasma Cutting” helps solve the problem of rapidly deteriorating electrodes and oxidizing metal encountered 20 years earlier.

1986

Hypertherm designs and patents an underwater water muffler that increases cut quality and speed during underwater cutting.

1987

Hypertherm unveils a blowback torch that eliminates high frequency arc starting.

1989

An air injected shield nozzle, developed by Hypertherm, is introduced to protect the nozzle during the metal piercing process

1990

Another first for the plasma cutting industry as Hypertherm develops a plasma system that can successfully cut up to 4 1/2 inches of metal under 15 feet of water. This breakthrough helps the atomic power industry dismantle old power plants.

1992

Hypertherm introduces HyDefinition technology, a breakthrough that helps produce better quality cuts at faster speeds. At the same time, the company also comes out with a vented two-piece nozzle that stabilizes the plasma arc precisely in the center of the electrode. This consistency increases electrode and nozzle process life.

1999

Hypertherm develops coaxial assisted jet technology. The new technology involves directing gas flow to the plasma arc using a common axel. This allows users to cut thicker metal at faster speeds.

2001

Hypertherm  president Dick Couch is elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

2002

Patented SilverPlus electrodes are rolled out by Hypertherm. The electrodes use a silver tip to diffuse more heat during cutting. This results in electrodes that last up to three times longer than standard electrodes.

2003
Hypertherm unveils HyPerformance plasma, a new system that delivers the same virtually dross free cut quality as the HyDefinition line of cutters, but with greater speed and a consumable life that is up to two times longer.
2006
Hypertherm introduces the Powermax30, a highly portable plasma cutting system that weighs just 20 pounds. Although small, the Powermax30 lives up to Hypertherm’s high performance standards with its ability to sever metal up to a half inch thick. The new Powermax also features a redesigned torch with a tapered front that makes it easier for operators to see and move the torch in hard to reach areas.

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