Using the correct parts with your CNC plasma system is as important on an older system as it is on a brand new one. While your choice of machine has the biggest influence on the quality of your cuts (after all, in isolation a plasma torch is essentially useless) the best machine in the world can’t compensate for issues that can arise from using sub-par consumable parts on the torch.
Cheap copy consumables (sometimes termed aftermarket parts) can look like an excellent deal, promising equivalent or better operational lifetimes and equivalent cut quality at bargain prices. The reality is often very different, and when things go wrong the owner of the machine can find themselves at significant expense to put things right. Whether that’s due to the aftermarket supplier being unreliable at short notice or the parts themselves being consistently faulty, both result in a high cost-of-ownership for the machine. Additionally, aftermarket consumables might fit correctly, but won’t be matched to the system. Plasma systems and consumables produced by the same company are designed to work with each other to provide optimum service life and cut quality.
Limited Vendor Expertise
The companies selling these “copy” parts often have very limited expertise in the plasma cutting process and cannot offer any advice, assistance, or technical support. This is especially true when a wider understanding of the correct machine settings across a range of parameters, such as optimum amperage and arc voltage for a variety of materials and thicknesses, is required.
Poor Safety Tolerances
This limited expertise also shows itself in the safety tolerances of the parts. Genuine and counterfeit consumables may look very much the same, just being shaped copper components. However, as the latter have usually not been machined with the safety requirements of the genuine parts they can put your machine, or in extreme cases, your operator at risk. The amount of energy that a plasma torch puts out is immense, and you want to be absolutely certain that it’s only directed at the cut part.
For Peace of Mind Choose Genuine
When a company makes a significant investment in a CNC plasma machine, either new or used, they are looking for the peace of mind that they can keep their machine in optimal condition into the future. Machine motion matters – the best torch in the world is completely useless alone, much like if you isolated an f1 engine from the vehicle itself – but since so much of the torch’s performance relies on its consumable parts, it’s important to source an accessible supplier of genuine, reliable consumable parts that can consistently deliver at short notice.