Once you’ve won the construction project, completed the back-slapping, fist bumps and high fives with your team, it’s time to get down to business. You know your final victory lap won’t happen until you’ve completed the project with precision, on time and, with luck, under budget.
You should select your steel fabricator with those goals front of mind. Therefore, you do yourself a favor to choose a fabricator with plasma cutting capabilities.
What is plasma cutting?
Plasma is the name scientists give to gases with an electrical charge. According to Live Science: “Being made of charged particles, plasmas can do things gases cannot, like conduct electricity.”
As a mechanical cutting tool, plasma torches shoot plasma at a high velocity towards the electrically-conductive metal to be cut. This creates extremely high heat — such as 20,000 degrees Celsius, or about 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s about three times hotter than the surface of the sun, according to Cal Tech researchers. With temperatures capable of lighting up a solar system, a plasma torch rapidly melts metal up to an inch thick. A second spray of gases blows the molten residue away from the cut. Mechanical methods — such as saws and ordinary torches — usually take longer to complete the same cut.
While plasma cutters can be hand-held torches, the most efficient way to fabricate metal for construction projects is to use a cutting table. With a table, the plasma torch is anchored in place on a hydraulic arm and capable of moving along the x, y and z axes (forward/backward, side to side and up/down).
You benefit in the following ways when you select a fabricator with a plasma table.
1. Computer Controlled Precision
The computer numerical control (CNC) interface between the electronic brain and the plasma cutter’s servomotors means perfect robotic precision with every cut. Where human control of a cutter can’t help but be a bit rough, a CNC plasma table can make refined, repeatable cuts every time.
Additionally, when the CAD program and the CNC module work together (if your fabricator invested in a higher-end model), your shop drawing specifications readily translate to the plasma table. The ease of transfer equates to fewer opportunities for errors.
2. Rapid Fabrication
As you move forward with your project, the last thing you want are delays in your structural steel or rebar fabrication. When your supplier makes good use of a plasma table, the assembly process can proceed more quickly compared to more common cutting methods. Combined with a lower potential for human mistakes and speedier cuts, your high-tech steel fabricator should be able to process your steel well within your schedule.
3. Fast Delivery
Naturally, with time sliced off production, your fabricator can deliver your order fast. Having your materials on site in plenty of time, your concrete and structural steel framing timetable can stay on track. If all else goes according to plan, you stand a much greater chance of coming in on time for your client, if not early.
With the foundations of the building project coming together smoothly — because your fabricator had the good sense to invest in a plasma table — you boost your odds of construction success with every contract you score. Happy clients means more contracts coming your way.
At Barton Supply, we’re proud to use a state-of-the-art plasma table. Since our beginnings, we’ve kept up with the best technology available to provide our customers with rebar and structural steel for every type of commercial, residential and industrial construction project.
To learn how we can help you build with precision, on time and under budget, contact us today.