ESAB Launches 600- And 800-Amp Options For  iSeries Of High-Precision Automated Plasma Systems

June 18, 2021

Users can “parallel” two iSeries power sources to cut non-ferrous metal up to 6.25 in.; system offers flexibility to use two units together or operate them independently.

Annapolis Junction, Md. – For increased productivity when automated plasma cutting, ESAB Welding & Cutting Products has launched enhanced versions of its 200-, 300- and 400-amp versions iSeries high-precision plasma power sources to double cutting output to 400, 600 or 800 amps, respectively. The new capability, standard on iSeries systems, requires using matching consumables, a connection kit with cabling and associated software for the controller.

“The concept is similar to paralleling two welding power sources to use larger diameter electrodes for increased productivity,” explains Dirk Ott, VP – Global Plasma Automation. “This new capability features some modest software and hardware enhancements, but the challenge was developing the new 600- and 800-amp consumables for stainless steel and aluminum.”

Ott notes that consumables are the most highly engineered components in an automated plasma cutting system, and that achieving optimal cut quality and speed requires changing consumables to match the application. ESAB now offers consumables for automated plasma cutting outputs from 15 to 800 amps.

Target applications include fabricators and steel services centers that use two torches on the same gantry and those cutting sections of stainless steel and aluminum material up to 6.25 in. (160 mm), which are primarily in the power generation, pressure vessel, chemical and petrochemical processing industries. Users of 600- and 800-amp systems primarily want faster cutting speeds on non-ferrous material that ranges from 2 to 4 in. (50 mm to 100 mm). As an example, the 600-amp system cuts 3 in. (75 mm) stainless steel at 13 inches per minute using H35 (the H35 process uses 35 percent hydrogen/65 percent nitrogen for the plasma gas and nitrogen for the shielding gas).

Connected or Independently

With the new capabilities, users of iSeries 200, iSeries 300 and iSeries 400 systems have the flexibility to operate two systems of the same output independently or together.

“Putting two plasma torches on the same gantry to cut identical shapes is a common strategy to increase productivity in high-volume applications,” says Ott. “When fabricators want to double output to cut thicker materials or increase cutting, all they need to do is switch consumables. We made this easy because our 400- 600- and 800-consumables all use the same Torch. With the quick-change consumables cartridge, users can change consumables in less than 30 seconds.”

Water Mist Secondary (WMS™) Process

The Water Mist Secondary process, which incorporates nitrogen as the plasma gas and ordinary tap water for shielding, produces superior cut quality and a lower cost per cut on stainless steel and aluminum. On stainless steel, the WMS process cuts up to 300 percent faster and lowers cost per cut by 20 percent or more compared to systems that use Argon-Hydrogen (H35) for the plasma gas.

“With our previous technology, the WMS process could cut material up to about 1.5 in. Now we have increased WMS output up to 800 amps for cutting non-ferrous* material up to almost 5 in.,” says Ott. “No other manufacturer offers a system with these capabilities.”

In addition to WMS and H35 for non-ferrous, ESAB offers a full line of consumables for cutting ferrous materials, as well as using argon for plasma marking. All XT torches use existing parts for underwater cutting for fabricators that want to reduce smoke and glare.

* Editor Note: Automated plasma cutting on mild steel is generally limited to thicknesses of 50 mm or less; on thicker material, the oxy-fuel process offers similar cutting speeds, good precision and lower cost of operation.

Additional Flexibility

The iSeries is available in 100-, 200-, 300- and 400-amp configurations for cutting plate up to 50 mm thick. All models feature a common cabinet and components, as well as StepUp™ modular technology, allowing users to increase the output from 100 amps all the way up to 400 amps by adding inverter blocks (and 400, 600 or 800 amps by paralleling 200-, 300- or 400-amp units). The modular design minimizes parts inventory and repair time.

“Between StepUp technology and the ability to parallel iSeries units, fabricators never have to worry about purchasing a system that does not have enough capacity to meet current and future needs,” says Ott.

At ESAB, we exist to shape the future of welding and cutting. We connect fabricators with the widest range of products under our industry-leading brand portfolio with the latest technologies to solve virtually any industry challenge — then we back it up with our knowledge, experience and passion to help them be more productive than ever before.

Users can now “parallel” power from two iSeries power sources to cut non-ferrous metal up to 6.25 in. The development offers the flexibility to use two systems together or operate them independently.

Users can now “parallel” power from two iSeries power sources to cut non-ferrous metal up to 6.25 in. The development offers the flexibility to use two systems together or operate them independently.