CNC Plasma Cutting Tables for Industrial Metal Cutting and Custom Metal Fabrication

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EZ Cut CNC Blog

Is a Downdraft Table Right For You?

Our wide selection of CNC plasma cutting systems provide our customers with many options when choosing the right system for their specific application needs. When discussing plasma cutting systems it is important to understand the differences between particular systems so that you can choose the appropriate table for your applications. For example, there are water tables, downdraft tables and hybrid water/downdraft tables. When you use a plasma cutter for work it is necessary to find a way to deal with the smoke and particles the cutting process generates. This is where downdraft, water and hybrid tables come into play. For the purposes of this article we will look specifically at downdraft tables and the advantages they offer.
A downdraft table system is a dry cutting system. TheFabricator.com provides a helpful explanation of what a downdraft table is, “The downdraft system uses a blower to extract plasma smoke below the plate. Because the volume and velocity of plasma smoke depends on the application, a downdraft table is typically custom-configured for the installation. Small downdraft tables are common in shops where a workcell includes a hand-held plasma cutter, but larger CNC plasma machines also use downdraft tables. For small CNC machines, a downdraft table might be a single zone, meaning the table is all one open area underneath the burning bars. The single-zone style is cost-effective only for machines up to 6 by 12 feet. Larger tables are divided into multiple zones, with dampers that open and close so that fumes are extracted only in the area where the machine is cutting.” Downdraft tables are commonly used under plasma and laser cutting machines. Downdraft tables effectively collects and removes particles and fumes, including smoke, during the cutting process. While there are advantages to both downdraft tables and water tables, depending on your specific needs, downdraft tables are more versatile than water tables overall. Additionally, downdraft tables are useful for a variety of metals and are easier to clean than water tables. Whether or not you decide to or instance, what kind of noise level is preferable? Does noise level matter significantly or is it a non-issue in the workplace? If noise level is of concern, a downdraft table may not be ideal because it does produce more noise than a water table. Additionally, your comfort level with safety in the workplace matters. It is always important to be safe when using a plasma cutting system but with a downdraft table eye protection is necessary to prevent eye damage from arc brightness. When you use a water table brightness is dramatically reduced. Finally, if slight warping from heat may pose problems a water table may be preferable over a downdraft system because cutting under water reduces temperature and prevents warping. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of all kinds of plasma cutting systems, weigh the pros and cons carefully and factor in your specific needs so that you are certain you choose the right system for you. Additionally, our experienced personnel can offer advice when choosing to ensure that you are completely happy with the plasma cutting system you chose, whether downdraft, water or hybrid.