CNC machines have touched almost every facet of manufacturing. The old adage 'Handle With Care' will continue to apply to any work you do with a plasma cutter for quite some time.

The theme here is to emphasise that fabrication, if mastered and performed safely, is a rewarding profession and that safety is an integral part of producing not only professional results but being certain your staff is safe as well.

The golden rule (as with every machine) is DO NOT TOUCH it unless you have been instructed in its safe use and operation, and have been given permission. You already know that the arc from a plasma cutter is an extreme fire hazard - the heat and sparks pose a major threat to anything that is located around your working area and the fumes can be hazardous, thus it is very important to keep the following points in mind to ensure a safe cutting session:

i) Proper Eye Protection: But not with gas welding goggles - they do not give UV protection - and face shields are needed to prevent eye damage called arc eye as well as damage from debris during machining.

ii) Avoiding Electrocution:

Plasma Cutters, especially with inverter technology increase the power output so much that it can cause fatal shock risks. The Longevity® Testing Team has some solutions on how to be properly grounded in case of a shock risk.

• Always wear rubber gloves while cutting in addition to your welding gloves.
• Insure that you are not working in a wet environment and check the ground for moisture or water.
• The Longevity Testing Team recommends that you operate while standing on top of a rubber place mat to ensure your safety. It is also very important that your plasma cutting unit is properly grounded and wired by an electrician.

In conclusion, these plasma cutting safety tips will help save your life and your health. You should follow them and read them over prior to operating Longevity Plasma Cutting equipment. This will be the most important step to a good, clean, and safe cut.

Please take it from us - electricity does not have a guru (it has never had), and you are not going to be the first to handle it with your bare hands. It will not work, you stand a greater chance to be cremated than succeeding while working with your bare hands.

In the previous article of this series, I did mention that plasma cutters send an arc of electric current through a high-speed stream of inert gas, usually compressed air. This electrical arc ionizes the gas molecules, turning a portion into plasma that is hot enough to cut metal.

In manufacturing terms, fabrication commonly refers to operations that are performed on relatively thin plates.

• Do not use faulty equipment. Immediately report suspect equipment.
• Do not weld or cut containers that have held combustible liquids or gases.
• Do not heat or cut metals coated with or containing materials that emit toxic fumes, unless coating is removed from the work surface.
• Never leave the machine running unattended.

When you purchase a plasma cutting machine, that's all you get from most companies. What happens after that is not their responsibility. They expect you, the seasoned machinist, to know the basics of safety protocols. And yet the casualties do occur. Read and implement these instructions for your safety and distribute it to those who are also at risk. It is in all our hands to ascertain the safety of one another.

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