American Machinist

Plasma cutter cleans up dirty power. (Casebooks).

Drops and fluctuations in voltage, known as dirty power, were hampering the use of critical equipment like plasma cutters at Peterson Manufacturing Corp. in Embarrass, Wis. As result, an old 40-amp cutter had difficulty cutting the various sizes of mild steel used to create the company's farm products.

The cutter's arc would extinguish or not penetrate at all when running off the shop's outlets, and slag buildup on the backside of the cut needed to be knocked off with a hammer. Besides this aggravation, parts required an additional grinding and polishing step. "A cutter of that size and rated output should have no problem cutting through materials up to 1/2-in. thick, but it did because of the power fluctuations," says Peterson's Chris Suess. …

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