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Thread: Why a BT plasma system?

  1. #13
    Registered BTA PLASMA's Avatar
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    We built with all kinds of rack throughout the years and we actually gravitated to the V rail because the reciprocating ball trucks were wearing out from plasma dust, they were heavy and expensive. We went this direction it was not a guesswork and our feeling is that it is superior to the old truck style linear rail.

    Last edited by BTA PLASMA; 02-18-2011 at 02:47 PM.
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    Thanks BBchevy396. I really didn't want to support this crap but your posts are PRICELESS!
    This one doesn't serve any purpose but entertainment. Poor at that.



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    Registered BTA PLASMA's Avatar
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    I do think it spurs a good discussion on why

    1. V rail over truck
    2. Mach 3 vs signal generators
    3. DTHC or torch height control vs non height control
    4. Old style systems vs new breeds
    5. Servo vs stepper
    6. Plasma acceleration
    7. Machine torches using the same consumables as hand torches

    I dont think we need to get into the entertainment value but I think we have a guy here who could use a little more information to his advantage. We are totally free to purchase what we want in plasma cutting and he is no exception but lets lay the facts on the table and keep an open mind. God forbid we all learn something new.

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  4. #16
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    Just to clarify a few facts:

    1. Most manufacturers of air plasma systems offer both hand torches and machine torches for use on any type of mechanized cutting equipment. The torches internally are the same, same duty cycle, current, and cut quality can be expected. The machine torch is more expensive as it is manufactured in much lower volume as compared to hand torches....but often is advantageous as it is easer to mount on a cnc machine, easier to square to the plate. There are often different consumables to be used for cnc machine applications due to the height control vs drag style hand cutting applications.

    There are (of course) plasma cutters that are designed for high duty cycle 3 shift a day industrial applications....the vast majority of these are liquid cooled torches that use oxygen as the plasma gas and air as a secondary gas for best cut quality on steels. There are other gas combinations for cutting non ferrous materials. These plasma systems are typically rated for 100% duty cycle, provide dramatically better cut quality and consumable life as compared to air plasma system.....and also cost as much as 10x more than air plasma......so they normally are not a good match for low cost plasma cnc machines.

    2. There are many high end industrial cnc cutting machines from almost every major manufacturer (and there are close to 85 cnc plasma machine manufacturers worldwide) that use aluminum gantries with great success. There are steel gantries as well.

    3. Linear bearing use became popular on plasma cutting cnc machines over 20 years ago. Properly specified and integrated...they are accurate and virtually maintenance free. There are probably over 50,000 cnc plasma systems being used worldwide with these recirculating bearing ways. They are not generally found on low cost machines...as they are expensive as compared to other way methods.

    4. My opinion is, and I have been heavilly involved with plasma cutting for over 33 years....that the Bulltear machine design is very nice, it has the capability to cut very nice parts with the Mach 3 operating system and a torch height control system. The Bulltear, and a handfull of other brands fit a very large market niche that more expensive industrial plasma and cnc machines simply do not fit in. For the same reasons that we have passenger cars, vans, 1/2 ton trucks, 1 ton trucks and tractor trailers......we have a lot of different styles of plasma cutters as well as cnc machines to drive the plasma cutters.

    I see no need to knock a very successful and well operating machine design.....if it is not the correct machine for a particular application, then you should do more research and determine the correct product!

    5. The Mach3 system is a great, well rounded, and affordable operating platform for affordable cnc machines. There of course are many other options....and some of the commercially available, plasma cutting specific cnc controls and software will do high volume industrial cutting jobs more efficiently in many ways....they also are prohibitively expensive when compared to the low cost machines that use Mach3 as the operating software.

    My 2 cents, and I will not argue these points!

    Jim Colt Hypertherm



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    Registered BTA PLASMA's Avatar
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    Price...markets...hmm

    I can tell you we recently had a guy who was interested in a 48K unit from another mfg pickup a 5x10 table from us shipped for under $13K saving him 35K so he went out and bought himself a newer truck and a cadillac for his wife. He was so happy with the table's performance he made us a LED sign we have in our shop. Its funny because another local guy bought a retrofit kit from us and made us a LED sign with our company logo he pulled from the internet. They compete in the morning in our office.

    Alot of what you see with the steel gantrys also come with a control on the gantry and require large servo motors usually with a planetary gear reductiong box to get the right resolution. Often times they just wont cut at mfgs listed speeds for thinner gauge steel and also require more power to operate. Because plasma uses zero side force for cutting (think "moment" application here engineers) the motion of acceleration and deceleration are very important to plasma cutting on the thinner materials. When you can get smooth and fast motion on your plasma table you really have a winner. If you ask some of the builders here if they would like a lighter gantry I am willing to bet most of them would say yes in plasma cutting....no to routing.

    Flame cutting is another story. Since flame cutting creates alot of heat zones above the tip you have a gantry that can stretch. Flame cutting machines usually always have one side on wheels so it can grow as it heats up without binding the gantry axis. There are rules to each build and for each tool used in a CNC.

    Also we do have hobbyists and startup companies making the same parts they were buying usually with better quality than the larger machines due to increase in accel/deccel and we also have alrge industrial companies that run these tables hard without any issues or without any other maintenance other than changing consumables. The tools have to speak for themselves as well as the results. At the end of the day if your getting the same part from a $10K table from a $50K table what would you rather spend?

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    BTA......

    There are hundreds of industrial machines delivered in N Americal every year that have 2, 4, as many as 8 plasma torches on the gantry. I have seen many of these same machines with 8 to 16 oxyfuel torches with auto gas control....and auto height control. Often there are also plasma arc writers. These are production machines that have CAM software for auto nesting, auto gas and height control parameter setting, automatic torch spacing for multitorch use......as well as windows based touch screen cnc controls for all of that. There really is a lot more to choose from with the higher priced large industrial machine.....so be very careful when you are comparing your Mach 3 based machines to the technology that is available. further, the higher priced industrial machines do not use stepper drives.....and there is good reason for that. Most use AC brushless servos that are inertial matched to the rotating mass.....and this is for cut part accuracy as well as acceleration. Absolutely necessary when the machines are carrying a payload of more than one plasma torch.

    As I stated, there is a very large, very well accepted market for Mach3 operated systems with steppers.....lightweight machines with definite purpose use. There always will be some overlap where an end user can use the lower cost version, and consequently there will be areas where the user should have spent the extra thousands for a machine designed better to fit his needs. Can't use a Prius to tow a horse trailer.

    Same issue with plasma torches.....no need for an 800 amp plasma on a machine used for occasional use....that is why Hypertherm sells plasma systems ranging from 30 amps to 800 amps, with duty cycle (there we go again) ranging from 30 to 100%...to fit the needs of the users.

    I like the Bulltear machines....but lets talk about their use for the applications they are best used for...as the expensive, heavy industrial machines should be sold for the markets they are designed for. For my home shop use, or for light industrial use a Bulltear would be perfect!

    Jim Colt Hypertherm.



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    Your absolutely right we have a shop nearby that had a Kinetics CNC plasma with a 50hp 50 taper spindle mounted to it. That plasma is in a class of its own I dont know of any multiheaded plasma with more capability. It also uses one of the large Hypertherm plasma cutters. Most of our customers are cutting under 1" plates however we do have one customer cutting 1.5" plate and they pretty much range from structural to art, from fixturing and prototyping to production hand tools. The beauty of plasma is that it can make almost any 2d part in a short period of time. Our 5 axis CNC mills are a different story

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    I just saw a BT table with a 105XL hi freq, bad ass.

    We have had good luck with our Fadals milling mostly soft steel and aluminum up to 5 axis. We are always looking for spare parts :) If you have a broken down Fadal give a shout.


  9. #21
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    Default Re: Why a BT plasma system?

    Well here we are on the eve of 2015

    And for the past almost 6 years we have been pumping out great tables. The tables have evolved past the V rail almost 4 years ago into the hardened profile linear rail and have gotten more and more robust. We stood the test of time and our industrial customers love us (ie..General Electric). We have customers that have came back for their 3rd table (Yes 3 running CNC plasma machines) and lots that have came back for their 2nd table. We are proud of that but only enough to get a smile. Our facility is dedicated to solutions not theory, not sales tactics, not bait and switch with the customer. We don't mislead or misrepresent the only way to get satisfaction from your customers for more than half a decade is to put out good product.


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