A great deal of interest and development of plasma beam has occurred in recent years. Plasma is created by passing a gas through an electric arc. The gas is ionized by the arc, and an extremely high temperature results. Temperatures in plasma arcs can exceed ( ), many times hotter than any arc or flame temperature produced by other processes (Figure M-114).
Plasma arcs of such high temperatures have a multitude of uses, not only in machining, but also in other applications such as ore smelting and waste-metal recovery operations. Research is ongoing in the applications of high-temperature plasmas for incinerating industrial
The process is useful for cutting, welding, and machining nonferrous metals and stainless steel.
Plasma torch machining is extremely fast and will produce smooth surface finishes to close dimensions.