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A CNC profile cutter is no less than a metal plate cutting tool. It makes use of plasma, and sometimes also with the help of an oxy-fuel cutting technique in order for it to be able to seamlessly cut through a metal sheet.

Defining What Plasma is (The 4th State of Matter)

Elementary science taught us that matter is consisting only of 3 states, namely solid, liquid, and gas. We find this too confining until the 4th state of matter came into picture, the plasma state. Water is a very common element, we are also very much familiar with it. It can also come in three states: steam, ice, and water.

The main distinction between these 3 states is somehow related to the energy levels they have.

To better illustrate this, let us cite an example relatable to us. If you have ice and would add energy to it in the form of heat, it would get thawed in minutes. The more energy (heat) that you apply to the thawed ice (now in the form of water), what you will get eventually is steam. This is comprised of oxygen and hydrogen.

If you apply more energy to the steam, the resulting gases will become ionized. The ionization process will render the gas to become conductive electrically. As it becomes electrically conductive, the ionized gas is now referred to as the plasma.  

How Can a CNC Profile Cutter (Plasma) Cut Through Metal?

A plasma cutting process will make use of the electrically conductive so that it can transfer energy originating from an electrical source via a plasma cutter torch to the object that is the subject of the cutting process, the metal sheet.  

The basic CNC cutting machine system is comprised of an energy supply. It also comes with a starting circuit and finally, a torch. These components work synergistically together to provide the required electrical energy, process control and ionization capability necessary to make that sought after quality cuts on many different materials.

As for the power supply, it is taking the role of providing a steady current DC energy source. The output current or the amperage will help determine the cut thickness and the system’s speed capability. The power supply’s main function is to provide the appropriate and correct amount of energy crucial to maintaining the plasma arc following ionization.  

The best way to describe the arc starting circuit is that it is a high frequency circuit generator that is capable of making an AC voltage anywhere between 5,000 to 10,000 volts. Approximately, this is about 2 megahertz. This voltage being produced will be utilized to make a high intensity arc within the torch itself and in the process will help ionize the surrounding gas. With this now,  plasma can be produced.

As for the torch, its basic function is to hold the consumables particularly the electrode and the nozzle. Aside from which, it also provides some cooling effect to these parts. The electrode as well as the nozzle maintain and constrict the produced plasma jet.  

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