Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A lot more trouble than they are worth

According to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the value of global counterfeit goods is expected to exceed USD 1.7 trillion in 2015. And if you are thinking this is only a problem in the consumer marketplace, think again.
Counterfeiters are also targeting highly engineered, high-value industrial products, and our industry has not been immune to this growing threat. Plasma cutting consumables — nozzles, electrodes, swirl rings, etc. — are now being seen in all regions. Be alert, be smart, and don’t let counterfeit consumables compromise your work, or your safety.

Five reasons you should always buy genuine products through authorized distributors and avoid counterfeit products:

  1. Quality
    Counterfeit suppliers have one thought in mind: a quick profit. They use the lowest cost materials and the cheapest, fastest production techniques; no stringent manufacturing processes, no quality control. Their products are inferior, inconsistent, and unreliable.
  2. Performance
    Plasma torches are precision devices requiring precision consumables. Any deviation from specified tolerances will impact overall performance. Result: poor or inconsistent cuts, reduced cutting speed, and significantly shorter consumable life. Or even a ruined or damaged torch.
  3. Safety
    The low quality metals used in counterfeit manufacturing may not be able to withstand the thermal demands of plasma cutting, putting equipment and, more importantly, operators at risk.
  4. Aftersales support
    If unknown parts have been used in a damaged torch or plasma system, it will make troubleshooting difficult, if not impossible. The use of unauthorized parts may also affect your warranty coverage.
  5. Overall operating costs
    Those “low cost” counterfeit consumables can be a lot more expensive than they look. For starters, they do not last as long as genuine parts — often only a fraction of the cutting life. Poor quality cuts may require costly rework, and valuable equipment could be irreparably damaged. There’s also downtime to consider, not to mention the risk to your business or your brand.

The only real bargain is real value

Counterfeits are usually very close copies of the genuine product, so it is easy enough to be misled, and think you are getting a good bargain. But this is one bargain that can be a major liability to your business.
The answer, of course, is to be alert for counterfeit scams, and to mistrust any consumable offer that sounds too good to be true. Be sure. Only purchase genuine Hypertherm consumables and only through an authorized distributor.
Genuine Hypertherm consumableCounterfeit consumable
Genuine Hypertherm consumableCounterfeit consumable

It’s not always easy to spot a counterfeit. Packaging is relatively easy to copy. Quality and performance are not.

How to make sure you are getting original consumables

To avoid being scammed by counterfeit consumables, here are a few things to watch out for:
  • A claim of “genuine” consumables from an unauthorized distributor, an unknown agent, or off the internet
  • Suspiciously low pricing for “genuine” consumables or software, or any offer that sounds too good to be true
  • Discrepancies in the physical appearance of the label, packaging, or product, compared to that of the original consumable
  • Poor or inconsistent consumable performance when compared to a genuine product — only 50% of usual service life, for example, or any abnormal signs of burning, metal deformation, etc.

Plasma technical tip: How to properly maintain the O-rings in your plasma torch

Plasma technical tip: How to properly maintain the O-rings in your plasma torch: Due to their small size, low cost, and straightforward design, the vital function of an O-ring is frequently overlooked and regular maintenance checks are often ignored, but operators can avoid serious downtime by getting into the daily habit of properly maintaining the O-rings on their consumables and in the plasma torch.

Plasma technical tip: How to properly maintain the O-rings in your plasma torch

By Ann Thompson, Hypertherm
Posted on 01/22/2019 in  SPARK the blog,  Plasma cutting
Due to their small size, low cost, and straightforward design, the vital function of an O-ring is frequently overlooked and regular maintenance checks are often ignored, but operators can avoid serious downtime by getting into the daily habit of properly maintaining the O-rings on their consumables and in the plasma torch.
Two key factors are critical, the silicone application and O-ring condition. Damaged, worn, dirty, dry, or over-lubricated O-rings can cause unwanted disruptions to production. Here are some common signs of O-ring trouble.
• The torch assembly is tight fitting and does not glide together easily
• Gas blockage or inconsistent gas flow
• Coolant is leaking from the torch
• Cut quality is prematurely diminished
• Your consumable life is shorter than normal
O-rings need to be replaced anytime there is visible wear or damage. If an O-ring is cracked, then it needs to be replaced. This applies not only to HyPerformance systems, but to air and conventional plasma systems as well. Check to make sure the O-rings on your consumable parts are securely situated and have not rolled out of place. If you have a HyPerformance system or conventional plasma (with the exception of the original torch found on our older MAX200 systems) you also need to inspect, and if necessary replace, the O-rings found on the bullet plugs inside the torch. We recommend routine visual inspections to determine replacement frequency.
When re-installing or replacing the O-rings, you may find it helpful to use a silicone lubricant. Put a small amount on your index finger and then rub it together with your thumb, as shown in the photos on the opposite page. Now apply the thin film to all the torch and consumable O-rings. You only want to give the O-ring a “wet” look. If you can see a physical build-up of silicone left behind, you have applied too much. Silicone can clog or plug ports and for that reason you need to be especially careful with its application around the swirl-ring so that the gas flow will work properly.
Hypertherm does offer silicone lubricant, part number 027055, through its network of authorized distributors. At around $7 a tube, the lubricant is affordable and should last for months. In addition, a tube is included in our preventative maintenance, torch rebuild, and starter kits. Hypertherm’s silicone is specifically formulated to condition and maintain consumable O-rings. Hypertherm does not recommend the use of substitutes, like petroleum based lubricants, as they can lead to burning or spark fires within the torch.
Questions about this tip? Contact Plasma Systems Inc. 
Posted in  SPARK the blog,  Plasma cutting
Tagged with  Powermax,  XPR,  HPRXD,  plasma consumables

Plasma tips & tricks: Installing Hypertherm HyPerformance consumables correctly

Plasma tips & tricks: Installing Hypertherm HyPerformance consumables correctly: Our Technical Service Team sometimes gets calls from HyPerformance Plasma owners having trouble with their torch. In the vast majority of cases the problems are traced back to the way the consumables were installed.

Installing HyPerformance consumables

By Ann Thompson, Hypertherm
Posted on 01/14/2019 in  SPARK the blog,  Plasma cutting
Our Technical Service Team sometimes gets calls from HyPerformance Plasma owners having trouble with their torch. In the vast majority of cases the problems are traced back to the way the consumables were installed. Though building a consumable stack up is easy to do, it is critical that you fit the swirl ring and nozzle together before inserting these two parts into the torch. This step is critical as it helps to correctly align the consumables. The proper installation method then is this:
1. Insert the electrode into the torch.
2. Fit the nozzle and swirl ring together, then insert this new combined subassembly onto the electrode.
3. Add the nozzle retaining cap to the torch, followed by the shield and shield cap.
4. Gently tighten the entire assembly together, taking care not to over-tighten.
First fit your nozzle and swirl ring together (photo, top) then install this new combined subassembly (photo, bottom). 
If you experience any of the following issues, misaligned consumables are a possible culprit and you should probably start by reassembling your consumable stack-up.
• Torch will not fire at all
• Pilot arc will ignite and then quickly extinguish
• Retaining cap will not screw on all the way
• Swirl ring is cracked, crushed, or melted
• Poor cut quality
Posted in  SPARK the blog,  Plasma cutting 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Don’t tighten XPR QuickLock electrodes by hand; use the tightening tool (part number: 104119)

Last year we did a Tech Tip in Hypertherm’s SHAPING eMagazine on the importance of using a consumable tool when removing consumables in your XPR, HPRXD, HPR and MAXPRO plasma cutting systems. This tool is so critical, we include one with every single system that leaves our facility. In addition to removing consumables, the tool is also used to install the electrode on the above systems, including our XPR plasma systems.
Although the new QuickLock electrode used on those systems is quick and easy to install (and feels like it should be tool-less), you still need the consumable tightening tool to ensure that electrode is secure. When an XPR electrode is tightened by hand, it is too loose and can’t make proper electrical contact. An arcing current will damage your consumables and maybe even your torch body, the receptacle, and/or torch connect console.
You need to use the hexagonal-shaped socket in the middle of this tool to completely tighten the electrode. This center hollow fits perfectly over the electrode and it is used like a wrench, to tighten and properly seat the electrode in place. Please refer to this video and article for more information on consumable installation and removal using this tool:
  • Video: Hypertherm how to: Hypertherm Technical Service Engineer Bob Chorney demonstrates proper use of our consumable removal tool.
  • Article: Don’t get dinged: There is a right way to use the consumable removal tool that comes with your XPR, HPRXD, HPR and MAXPRO power supplies.
If you have misplaced your XPR tightening tool, you can order a new one from Plasma Systems, Inc. Ask for Hypertherm part number: 104119.
Original article posted in :  SPARK the blog,  Plasma cutting 

Houstex 2019

We had the opportunity to visit Houstex this year and had a great time looking at all the new technology out there. Below are just a few pictures we took of some good looking booths and fine people at the event. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Our 2019 Brochure has arrived!

The new year is coming to a great start. We received our new brochures and our sales team has started to promote with them. Inside our new brochure you will find information regarding the technology which powers our system and puts us a cut above the rest. Feel free to visit and download the brochure via our website http://www.plasmasystemsinc.com/reference-library.html

January has come and gone and we are moving into February excited about the year still ahead. As a company, our aim is to keep innovating and growing our capabilities. InSight remains one of the most impressive controllers in the industry exceeding both ours and customer expectations. We remain open to industry feedback and would love to have you and your team visit us for a demonstration. If you're curios about our cut quality and beveling capabilities, don't hesitate to give us a call and drop by.

Plasma Systems, Inc.
Joseph Steinhauer / Sales Engineer
Phone: 832.243.9900

Our January Open House

We are happy to say our first open house of the year was a complete success! Plasma Systems Inc. would like to thank everyone who made the time to stop by and visit with us. If you were not able to make it to the open house, we would love to schedule a private demo for you and your team. For those who have already rescheduled, we look forward to seeing you soon!