How Air Dryers Make Plasma Cutters Work Better

10 June 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Plasma cutters use highly pressurized air that is forced out through a small nozzle. At the end of that nozzle, there is an electrode that has a negative charge. When power is put through that electrode, and the nozzle is placed against some metal, it forms a circuit. At the point where the circuit is made, a spark is created. Then the pressurized gas goes through that spark and is heated to very high temperatures. That allows it to become plasma. That can then start to cut metal. There are other things that need to go into making sure that a plasma cutter works well. One of them is an air dryer.

Air Compressors

Plasma cutters use air compressors in order to pressurize the air. Air compressors suck in the external air in order to have something to compress. 

Air Dryers

It may sound funny to say that a plasma cutter needs to use an air dryer to make sure that it has dry air. After all, isn't air supposed to be dry anyway? However, it doesn't always work that way. Because air compressors suck in the environmental air in order to create compressed air, any moisture that is in the air is also translated into the compressed air and then sent on to the plasma cutter. Moisture in the air doesn't have to mean that it's raining or snowing. Humidity is moisture. That humidity can actually ruin the plasma cutter. It can corrode the electrode that creates the spark. 

Placement of the Air Dryer

In a plasma cutter set up, the air dryer is placed in between the air compressor and the plasma cutter. The dryer often has a filter as part of it, so that it can clean any impurities in the air as well. The air dryer is often some kind of desiccant installed in the line between the compressor and the cutter. A desiccant is a substance that can dry things out. For example, silica is a desiccant, which is why it is included in things like shoe boxes. 

Plasma cutters make it possible for all kinds of metal work to be done. If the cutter isn't set up correctly, with an air dryer in the system, it won't maintain a stable spark and it will have a shorter lifespan. An air dryer is a quick and easy way to make sure that the job gets done well. Contact a company like Compressed Air Systems for more information.