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Robotics Case Studies

Robotic Plasma Cutting

by Wolf Robotics
Wolf Robotics, A Lincoln Electric Company

High speed cutting
Less heat-affected zone
Cuts all metals including aluminum and stainless steel
Produces quality bevel cuts for welding
Follows part/shape contours
Minimal cleanup
Reduced part warpage
Process versatility using tool changers

Plasma cutting is a process where an ionized gas conducts electricity creating a hot, energized plasma arc that when constricted through a concentrated area (the nozzle) is capable of blasting through thicker metals producing a clean cut-out shape with minimal cleanup required. 

Plasma can cut metals such as aluminum, stainless steel, brass, copper, mild steel and others from very thin up to  2 in. thick. 

No preheating is required and cutting is performed at higher speeds than oxyfuel cutting with smaller heat-affected zones that minimizes warping.

Superior cut quality is also available on thinner materials using a precision plasma cutting technology.  The improved quality is from a super constricted arc and increased energy density.

Robotic plasma cutting offers the advantages of the plasma cutting process with the ability to follow irregular shapes and contours.  Depending on the part, you can either have the robot hold and maneuver the part under a stationary plasma cutting torch or use the robot to manipulate the plasma torch around the part contour.

Another big advantage of robotic plasma cutting is the ability to switch from a straight 90 degree cut angle to a bevel angle during the actual cutting process.  Bevel cuts are sometimes preferred for subsequent welding operations.  Utilizing a feedback system the robot can maintain an accurate torch to work distance and adjust accordingly no matter what shape or angle is required.

To expand the robots capabilities, a tool changer can be implemented for switching from cutting to welding or some other production process.

Ultimately, one should consider the importance of technology, future expansion and adaptability when selecting  the system and its components.

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