Many people know that a plasma cutter is used for cutting metal, but are you aware of the danger associated with these fumes? Read on to find out more about this potentially hazardous situation.
What are plasma cutters, and how do they work?
A plasma cutter is a tool that uses compressed gas to create a stream of hot Plasma. This tool is commonly used in the fabrication and metalworking industries for cutting and beveling various metals, especially steel. The Plasma created by this device can cut through metal using only the heat generated from the gas, which makes it a useful workhorse for shops.
A plasma cutter works by sending an electrical signal through a compressed gas, such as oxygen or argon. The gases are stored in a pressure tank that is attached to the machine. When activated, the electrical signal causes a spark within the pressurized gas inside of this tank. The spark creates a current of electricity that heats up the gas into a plasma state. The electrical arc created by the Plasma is passed through a nozzle and used to cut metal parts.
How does a plasma cutter create fumes?
Plasma cutters work by sending a current through an oxygen or argon gas. This electricity heats up the gas into Plasma and is then used to torch metal. The superheated metal vaporizes in the air, creating ozone (O3) and several other hazardous gases
Are our plasma cutter fumes dangerous?
Yes, plasma cutting has hazards. The plasma gases are heated to such high temperatures that they can create potentially hazardous fumes that can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, induce coughing, headaches, and nausea or worse: trigger a heart attack. The EPA has found studies that have linked exposure to ozone with increased hospital admissions for cardiac problems, respiratory illness, and decreased lung function in children. Therefore, it’s recommended to use a fume extractor. The EPA has also found that exposure to plasma gas components can cause impacts on the central nervous system, cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
Plasma cutting safety:
- Minimize or eliminate exposure by using a Plasma cutting fume extractor. A fume extraction system for a Plasma cutting machine uses a vacuum to suck the fumes produced by the plasma cutter away from the user.
- Do not use the machine in enclosed spaces, even if you are using an exhaust system to draw fumes outside. It can take several minutes before these toxic fumes are drawn out of a small work area.
- Use a respirator mask when working with plasma cutters
- Ensure that your workspace is well-ventilated, especially if you are using an exhaust system to draw fumes outside.
It’s not a good idea to use a plasma cutter without proper protection. The result of using these tools can lead to permanent disabilities or death, so it is important that you are wearing the correct personal protective equipment when operating them. Therefor having a fume extraction system is important. We hope this article has helped you understand how dangerous fumes from a plasma cutter can be and made sure you’re taking all necessary precautions before working with one in your workshop!