Does A Plasma Cutter Need an Air Dryer?
A plasma cutter is one of the most important tools for anyone who frequently works with metals and other thick materials. This device uses a high-velocity stream of ionized gas to make clean and precise cuts through metals.
However, to ensure that your plasma cutter is working efficiently, you have to consider the role of an air dryer in its operations. This article will discuss whether you need an industrial air dryer for your plasma cutter and its importance in the cutting process.
Plasma Cutting: An Overview
Plasma cutting, or plasma arc cutting, is a process that involves the use of a plasma torch to heat, melt, and cut thick material into custom shapes. The plasma torch is superheated and powered by an ionized gas, allowing it to effortlessly slice through the material. For example, a plasma cutter can cut through metal materials such as structural steel, alloy steel, aluminum, and copper. Plasma cutting is a viable alternative to laser cutting and is effective in materials with thicknesses ranging from 0.5 mm to 180 mm.
Do You Need an Air Dryer on Your Plasma Cutter?
Yes, you need an air dryer on your plasma cutter. The quality of the compressed air is one of the most important factors influencing the precision and accuracy of your cuts when using a plasma cutter. If there is moisture in the compressed air, it can affect the quality of the plasma arc and cause various problems with the plasma cutter. An air dryer removes moisture and other contaminants from the compressed air supply, resulting in better cut quality and a longer life for your plasma cutter.
Benefits of Using an Air Dryer for Plasma Cutting
The primary benefits of using a compressed air dryer for a plasma cutter include the following:
- Better plasma arc quality: Having moisture and other contaminants in the compressed air causes the plasma arc to be unstable and affects the quality of the cuts. The plasma air dryer maintains a stable plasma arc and improves cut quality by removing moisture and contaminants.
- Extend the lifespan of consumables: Moisture and contaminants in compressed air can cause nozzles, electrolytes, and other consumables to wear out quickly. Removing moisture and contaminants increases the life of these consumables and lowers your operating costs.
- Increase productivity: Poor quality cuts and consumable wear can lead to downtime and affect overall productivity. A plasma cutter air dryer can help to increase productivity and decrease downtime by improving cut quality and extending the life of consumables.
Types of Air Dryers Used in Plasma Cutting
Two types of air dryers can help you remove moisture from compressed air: refrigerated and desiccant dryers. However, there is a significant difference in the modes of operation of both dryers.
Refrigerated dryers work in a similar mode to refrigerators and freezers. They use compressor coils filled with refrigerant to cool the air to about 33° to 40°F. As the moisture condenses, it is removed from the air stream. The process leaves dry, compressed air, which the dryer reheats to room temperature before use. As a result, refrigerated dryers are cheaper to purchase and have a low running cost.
There are two types of refrigerated compressed air dryers: cycling and non-cycling.
- Cycling air dryers: Cycling air dryers use variable speed drive compressors, which adjust the refrigeration cycle based on the compressed air demand.
- Non-cycling air dryers: Non-cycling air dryers use fixed-speed compressors, which continue to operate regardless of the compressed air demand. They cool the compressed air to a constant temperature regardless of humidity.
Unlike refrigerated dryers, desiccant dryers remove water vapor from the air through adsorption. They have adsorptive materials that attract and bind water molecules. Desiccant dryers commonly use activated alumina or molecular sieve desiccants. Most desiccant dryers have two towers filled with desiccant beads, which allows them to operate without stopping. While one tower dries the compressed air, the other regenerates the desiccant material.
Desiccant dryers are more expensive to purchase and maintain than refrigerated air dryers. However, they can lower the dew point of compressed air to -40 °F or even -100 °F.
Shop NiGen’s Industrial Air Dryers in Houston
If you are looking for a high-quality industrial air dryer for a plasma cutter in Houston, look no further than NiGen. We have a wide range of air dryers to meet your specific requirements. With years of experience and a commitment to customer satisfaction, we are the trusted supplier of industrial air compressors and air dryers for businesses across Houston.
Contact us today to get the best air dryer for plasma cutters.