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Maintaining Plasma Cutting Systems and Compressed Air

Maintaining Plasma Cutting Systems and Compressed Air

Today’s guest post is by Tim Lux of Miller Electric.

When issues arise in plasma cutting systems, many of them stem from problems
with the air supply. Moisture in the air supply is the No. 1 cause of poor cut
quality and shortened consumable life. It’s important that the air supply be
free from moisture, oil, and dirt.

Problems also can be caused by in-line oilers in the airlines. These oilers,
which are used by many shops, add oil to the compressed air to keep air tools in
good working condition. But if that oil is introduced into a plasma system, the
cut quality and consumable life will quickly diminish. Once oil gets into the
air supply of a plasma system, a costly repair, such as replacing all of the
internal air components including the torch, may be required. However, any
repairs are determined by how much oil has saturated the system.

While all Miller plasma cutters have an internal filter, it’s best to have
some additional external filtering to be safe. There are three types of air
filters available from Miller: an in-line filter with the replaceable element; a
replaceable paper cartridge-style filter; and an RTI cleanable filter with
automatic drain.

The in-line filter, made of plastic resin fiber, is the least expensive
option, but it requires draining after each use. It’s also best to let the
element air dry between uses. This model filters 99.9 percent of dirt and
moisture to 1 micron in size. How often you need to change the element depends
on how clean your air supply is and how well you keep up with the maintenance.

The replaceable cartridge style of filter will saturate more easily, and in
an environment with high humidity, it will require frequent element changes.
This filter has a lower up-front cost, but replacing the element often may lead
to higher long-term costs. This model filters 95 percent of the dirt and
moisture to 5 microns in size.

The cleanable RTI filter with automatic drain has the most expensive up-front
cost of the three options. However, the fact that this filter has an automatic
drain and the element is cleanable may make it the most cost-effective choice in
the long run. The element on this filter, made of a composite material, is rated
for 99.9 percent of dirt and moisture to 1 micron in size.

About Today’s Guest Blogger

Tim Lux has been with Miller Electric Mfg. Co., for 25 years. While the majority of
that time has been spent with Miller industrial products, service and end-user
training department, Tim currently is the service and applications specialist
with the Plasma group at Miller.

Ed Cyzewski


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