Plasma Cutter Consumables – Regular Maintenance & Correct Parts Will Help to Lower Productions Costs

The parts that make up your plasma torch must be inspected regularly and replaced when warranted to keep your plasma cutter safe, working cost effectively, and able to perform the highest cut quality. Using the correct and matching torch parts will make all the difference in cut quality and consumable life.

As the nozzle at the cutter’s tip concentrates the gas and introduces a spark from the electrode, it turns the gas stream into plasma. Inert or semi-inert gases are used to shield the area where the plasma touches the metal. The force of the plasma is strong enough to blow the molten metal out of the cut. The plasma itself reaches temperatures as high as 30,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This kind of temperature and force takes its toll on the cutter’s tip and components.

The most common plasma torch wear items are: the Electrode, the Nozzle, and the Shield. The Swirl Ring will last several changes longer when properly maintained.

The Electrode:

The primary function of the electrode is to provide power to the plasma arc. Electrode wear is detected by examining the insert and measuring pit depth. Excessive electrode wear reduces cut quality and can result in damage to the plasma torch. Premature electrode wear is most often caused by a few common culprits, the most common being mismatched torch parts. Other contributors may include incorrect gas flow settings, gas leaks, moisture build-up and impurities in the plasma gas.

The Nozzle:

The nozzle limits the plasma arc to a specific diameter through a perfectly round hole in its’ tip. It constricts the plasma gas, increasing its’ velocity. The most common cause of nozzle damage is, once again, mismatched torch parts. Also, incorrect cut distance, cutting material thicker than the capability of your plasma cutter, and incorrect gas and amperage settings will cause premature wear. Vigilance on the part of the operator, regular inspections and using OEM parts will help extend the life of your plasma consumables. The electrode and nozzle should be changed as a set to keep cut quality at its very highest.

The Shield:

The shield surrounds the consumable stack, protecting the parts from damage. It contains an identical, perfectly round hole as the Nozzle. The most common problem associated with the shield is damage to the main orifice due to being blocked or clogged by dross or spatter. Dross can be usually be picked off. If the main orifice is out-of-round, it must be replaced.

The Swirl Ring:

The swirl ring creates and controls the swirling action of the gas as it flows around the electrode and nozzle. When inspected and cleaned regularly, the swirl rings will outlast many electrode and nozzle changes. A clogged swirl ring will hamper gas flow, decrease cut quality and shorten electrode and nozzle life. Make sure you match the appropriate swirl ring to the other plasma consumables in your torch.

Regular examination and care of all of the plasma torch parts will help to maximize the service life, efficiency and performance of your plasma cutter. Regular maintenance and replacement of worn consumable parts will help to keep your cut quality high, reduce scrap cost, reduce down-time, and lower your production costs.

Using genuine OEM consumable parts and accessories and matching them for your plasma cutter and application is the only way to ensure optimal performance and to maintain the highest cut quality. A low initial consumable cost is usually more expensive in the long run. Mismatched plasma consumables will result in shorter consumable life and reduced cut quality. Your plasma cutter’s manual will specify the correct parts for various consumable configurations.

To achieve the highest cut quality and consistency, inspect regularly and use only genuine, matching consumables that are manufactured to the highest standards.

Business Video – The Basics 1: What Does Video Production Cost?

In today’s online world, video is considered the most effective social media tactic, as it is the most effective way to display a strong message on a website. Current research shows that simply having video on your website automatically gives your page more relevancy towards Google searches.

Throughout our many years of experience as a video production company, we’ve realized that a large amount of businesses are interested in using video, but don’t know where to get started and more than likely feel that it is too expensive to have a professional video made.

With this and other articles titled “The Basics” we are going to talk more about the process itself, and what effects the overall cost of a production.

Today’s proliferation of decent quality low-cost cameras, recording equipment, and editing software has put video production within reach of practically anyone, but it takes more than good equipment to create engaging video. It requires hard earned experience, technical expertise, and talent. In addition, the cameras, microphones, lights and software used by video “professionals” produce much better images and sound. And because video is a complex process of shooting, directing, recording, lighting and editing, it often takes a team of specialists to truly create a great video production.

Depending on the scope of your project and your team of specialists’ budget, a professional video project can require as few as one or two people (typically a videographer and an editor – sometimes one doing both) or a whole team of specialists and assistants.

Therefore, the overall cost of video production is determined by three main factors:

1. Time: The more elaborate a business needs their video to be, the more time is required. High quality video productions will take much more time and effort put into the “Three Phases of Video Production”, which generally consists of the planning, shooting, and editing of the video. Someone sitting and talking into a camera is much less elaborate and technical than shooting in multiple locations with multiple cameras and lighting setups. Editing a simple or more basic video takes much less time than a video consisting of elaborate animations, graphics, voice-overs, music creation, and other enhancements.

2. Talent: A more talented and experienced video production company will always produce a better product. One should always take a look at a production company’s track record, including what other companies they have worked for and customer reviews and testimonials. It’s like choosing a doctor where you want the best for the job and better talent usually costs more than someone just starting out.

3. Tools: Most people have all the tools they need to produce a simple video on their smart phone, but in the end “you get what you pay for”. Professional-level cameras, lighting kits and post-production editing software (and the people who know how to use them to tell your story effectively) add to the cost and value of your video.

In the next article of “The Basics” series, we’ll discuss “Levels of Video Production” from amateur to Hollywood with reference costs.

Legislating Magnesium Production Costs

Magnesium production in the U.S. is done by the U.S. Magnesium Corporation. According to Forbes Magazine, the U.S. International Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Commerce imposed something called an anti-dumping duty on the foreign imports of the metal. Although this did increase use of American-produced magnesium, it also raised the cost for the metal and placed a hardship on American manufacturers.

From 2004, when the price of magnesium was $1 a pound to 2010 when the price hit $2.30 (after dropping from the 2008 high of $3.25 due to the recession) manufacturers have been lobbying to reduce the price of a metal that had become vital to their production. The only magnesium producer in the U.S. is located in Utah, and it does not produce enough to meet demand. This makes the price of the material much higher than it should be. Doing away with the tariff would bring the price down so that American manufacturers can be more competitive with their products.

2011 Legislative Efforts

St. Louis Beacon Senator Claire MsCaskill, a politician from Missouri, announced that she would seek to have the tariffs placed on magnesium shipped from Russia and China stopped. The U.S. Department of Commerce placed the tariffs on those imports in 2005. However, McCaskill reasons that with only one magnesium producer in the U.S., the tariffs placed an unnecessary hardship on the tool and die companies in her home state and others. Others in Congress are exploring relief from or repeal of the duty. U.S. Magnesium produces its magnesium from the brine in the Great Salt Lake. China produces the most of the magnesium used worldwide at an estimated 82% of the supply. The U.S. produced only 8% of the world’s supply as of 2009. With the uses for magnesium slated to only increase in the years to come, a solution to solving the inflated magnesium cost are imperative.