Manufacturing as an industry can count many milestones that register as “revolutionary,” and plasma cutting technology is certainly one of them. Easily slicing through a variety of metals, manufacturers have utilized plasma to bump up production while slashing the costs related to processing material. And just when it seems plasma technology has reached its pinnacle, Hypertherm moves the goal posts yet again.
This time around, Hypertherm’s Powermax Sync is redefining the standards used to measure efficiency with its dynamic arc control and adaptive intelligence. As the operator engages the arc and makes their way through material, Powermax Sync adapts instantly to varying materials and thicknesses, providing a smooth, consistent and quality cut.
Adopting smart tech
“Change the way you work” is the Hypertherm motto seen throughout the marketing content for Powermax Sync. This disruptive technology includes a single-piece cartridge that is color-coded, exceedingly easy to snap on and take off, and is just one part of a connected, intelligent cutting system. For example, the SmartSync torch handles have touch controls so the operator isn’t required to step away from the workpiece and walk back to the power unit to make changes. This also assists in eliminating potential for errors.
Hypertherm’s “Change the way you work” motto also applies to switching out consumables. It doesn’t have to be a guessing game anymore. One costly error that too many fabricators are familiar with occurs when the cartridge fails mid-cut, introducing a host of side effects, including unplanned downtime, miscut parts and the potential to damage the torch handle. With Powermax Sync, users are afforded “end-of-life detection,” which alerts them to when it is time to switch out the old cartridge for a new one.
The cartridge also captures data, which is of particular interest to today’s savvy shops. These businesses are gaining efficiencies by pulling from a variety of data sources and analyzing information about every cut and parameter used, which means having the luxury of making fact-based decisions that impact productivity moving forward.
Integrated Structures Corp., based in Bellport, N.Y., serves local customers with heavy road, site, foundation, highway and bridge construction services. Utilizing collective resources of construction, management and engineering expertise, Integrated Structures is equipped to tackle all types of work, from complex steel structures and bridge decks to utility installations, underpinnings, support-of-excavation systems and much more.
The company relies fully on its own resources, which means it doesn’t have to depend on subcontractors to get the job done. Those in-house resources include plasma cutting technology from Hypertherm, affording operators the ability to make quick and efficient work of the large materials often involved in the company’s projects.
Justin Cimino, plant manager for Integrated Structures, says the most common job types his company handles are related to rehabilitation of steel structures, which includes doing work for big customers like the Port Authority of New York, New York State Department of Transportation and the New York Transit Authority.
Integrated Structures utilizes Powermax Sync technology, which Cimino says falls in line with the company’s focus on tackling jobs that are not only on budget, but also on time.
“Staying current with technology is very important considering our work is time sensitive,” Cimino says of adopting the technology. So in terms of the heads-up that the smart technology offers when it’s time to switch cartridges, Cimino adds that, “Operators aren’t destroying torch handles due to the end-of-life detection system. They feel more confident using the Hypertherm because of all the easy-to-use benefits.”
While Integrated Structures is stacked with knowledgeable leaders with years of experience in their respective areas, the company is no different from others regarding the pinch they feel caused by the skills gap. Cimino says that workforce shortage, particularly for a trade like his, means adopting easy-to-use cutting technology is exceedingly important.
“Teaching this process is made very easy,” he says of implementing Powermax Sync technology. “The new technology has made our guys feel more comfortable using the Hypertherm equipment.”
Hypertherm’s feedback from users confirms what the company already knew about its cartridges – they last a long time. “The cartridge lifespan far exceeds our older machines’ consumables and takes seconds to replace,” reads a testimonial from Salt Creek Fab, an Iowa-based shop that specializes in making signs.
Another factor that separates Hypertherm’s cartridges from others is that they are color-coded. For example, cartridges for drag cutting and fine cuts are yellow; mechanized fine cut cartridges are grey; maximum removal and maximum control gouging cartridges are green; and flush cut cartridges are black.
At Integrated Structures, Cimino says the consumables are separated in cabinets by amps so it’s “easy for our operators to find the correct consumables without wasting time,” but as an added bonus, the Hypertherm cartridges provide extra safeguards.