CNC plasma cutting systems have been around for some time and the technology continues to evolve. With each advance, cuts get more precise, the cutting process becomes more efficient and many other advantages emerge. While some may be familiar with CNC plasma cutting they may not be as familiar with high definition plasma cutting. What exactly makes it “high definition” anyway? Do you need high definition for the type of cutting that you are doing in your shop? Is it better or just different? It is important to know all about high definition plasma cutting before determining if that is the right CNC plasma cutting system for you.

The Fabricator provides a good and comprehensive explanation of what exactly plasma cutting is, as well as why it is growing in popularity, “High-production sheet and plate cutting is the category that is receiving the most attention in terms of process research and development. As a result, high-definition plasma cutting systems have made huge strides in quality, speed, power level, operating costs, and, most recently, ease of use over the past 10 to 15 years. In high-definition plasma cutting, developed in the early to mid-1990s, the plasma arc is forced through a smaller nozzle orifice, taking full advantage of the laws of high-temperature physics. This makes cleaner, straighter cut edges while maintaining acceptable consumable parts life in the torch. The earliest systems were limited in amperage and thickness capacity (70 amps with a 3⁄8-in. maximum thickness on steel) and required an expert machine operator to monitor and adjust multiple parameters that affected the cut quality. Even at its beginning stages, however, high-definition plasma technology ranked as one of the top three or four developments in the history of plasma cutting. Today’s class of high-definition plasma systems are available in amperages from 130 to 800 with cutting thickness capacity from 26 gauge to 3 in. on carbon steel and up to 61⁄4 in. on stainless and aluminum. Consumables life and cut quality and consistency have improved dramatically over the years as well, making these systems a primary metal cutting method of choice for metal fabricators worldwide. Low operating cost, high cutting speeds, and improved quality are the results of high-level engineering efforts and have greatly increased demand.” While high definition plasma cutting has been around for approximately 20 years, it has proven itself as a valid and valued form of cutting and is certainly here to stay. Ease of use has continued to improve over the years, making high definition plasma cutting an ideal cutting option for a wide range of projects.