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Thread: Powermax 45 and Cutmaster 52

  1. #1
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    Powermax 45 and Cutmaster 52

    I'm torn between the Powermax 45 and Cutmaster 52. Price is a concern, but they are both in the same general price range so I'd rather select the better product even if it's a few hundred extra.

    The application is for a CNC gantry system which is already built. I will be using a "torch height control". I know both systems have a port built in to accept the connections from the controller and/or THC.

    Primarily I will be cutting 3/8" aluminum alloy 6061. Regardless of the brand and model of machine, I will be using a machine torch for the CNC operation, but will want to swap occasionally with a hand torch for manual cutting so a system that includes both a manual torch and machine torch (without having to buy one or the other separately) would be a bonus.

    I have 240VAC single phase available in the shop, no three phase.

    I'm new to plasma cutting, but know the basics by now, at least in theory. Maybe it's all about the same, but I will need the machine to have the ability to pierce 3/8" aluminum as well as cut it for lengthy periods without stopping. Straightness of the cut and thin kerf width is also important.

    If anyone has any input I would appreciate it.

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  2. #2
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    I'd recommend stepping up to a larger machine, if extended cycle times at high output is anticipated. It will also increase your cut speeds and production. Pay now, or pay later.



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    To BBchevy396_

    Thanks for the input. I haven't heard back from Thermal Dynamics yet, but a very helpful contact from Hypertherm assures me that the PowerMax 45 will cut 3/8" Aluminum all day long. I agree however that a higher amperage machine will cut faster. For now, I am limited by the amperage available from the breaker panel as well.

    I think both machines are perfect for what I need, which is why I'm having a hard time deciding. Trying to eliminate one or the other based on features, included accessories, reliability issues, etc.... I'm leaning towards the PowerMax simply because the support from Hypertherm in answering my questions so far has been very good.



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    Both machines will cut 3/8" aluminum, however I would not recommend either one for cutting 3/8" aluminum all day long. The thickness ratings for production cutting are based on steel cutting....aluminum cuts slower and requires more power to get the best quality cut edges. If it truly is a rlatively high production use...and 3/8" is the primary thickness....then you should be looking more at a 65 to 85 Amp plasma system. Both of these systems will certainly cut 3/8" aluminum well, however at limited speed, and each stands a fair chance of exceeding their duty cycle ratings if used on a production basis with this material.

    Here's why:

    Duty cycle is based on the amount of power that the plasma system is required to produce when cutting a particular type and thickness of material. If you lookin the T-D manual, it suggests cutting 3/8" aluminum at 140 arc volts at 60 amps, at 45 inches per minute. To calculate the power, multiply the voltage x the amps, so 140 x 60 = 8400watts, or 8.4 kW of power to cut 3/8" aluminum.

    As a comparison, you will see the Hypertherm Powermax 45 cuts the same aluminum at 130 volts, 45 amps, at 42 inches per minute...slightly slower, but the 45 is more efficient (torch design) and only uses 5.85 kW .

    Now.....the TD unit is factory rated at 60% duty cycle output at 60 amps and 103 load volts (60 x 103 = 6180 watts, 6.18 kW)

    If you use 8.4 kW of power to cut the aluminum, and the T-D unit is capable of cutting at 6.18 kW at its rated 60% duty cycle...then you can expect the unit to exceed its duty cycle at a much quicker rate than 60% as advertised

    The Hypertherm is rated at 60% duty cycle at 45 amps at 132 load volts (45 x 132 = 5.95 kW). The Hypertherm will cut 3 inches per minute slower, but will be operating at 5.85 kW on 3/8" aluminum, which is within its rated duty cycle range.

    So...the Hypertherm 45 will cut 3/8" aluminum at a higher duty cycle than the T-D, however each system will be running pretty flat out on this material, and if you are doing long cuts on a warm day....I would say you are risking exceeding the rated duty cycle on both machines.

    To Clarify: Power output and performance of a plasma cutter is based on killowatts, not amperage.....as well as the efficiency of the torch design. In this case the Hypertherm clearly has a more efficient torch...as it cuts at almost the same speed as the T-D, but with lower power (5.85kW vs 8.4 kW).

    If you are truly cutting 3/8" aluminum all day long....I would suggest looking at larger systems!

    Best regards, Jim Colt Hypertherm



    Quote Originally Posted by CJA Masterworks View Post
    To BBchevy396_

    Thanks for the input. I haven't heard back from Thermal Dynamics yet, but a very helpful contact from Hypertherm assures me that the PowerMax 45 will cut 3/8" Aluminum all day long. I agree however that a higher amperage machine will cut faster. For now, I am limited by the amperage available from the breaker panel as well.

    I think both machines are perfect for what I need, which is why I'm having a hard time deciding. Trying to eliminate one or the other based on features, included accessories, reliability issues, etc.... I'm leaning towards the PowerMax simply because the support from Hypertherm in answering my questions so far has been very good.




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