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What is an IGBT Plasma Cutter?

The IGBT is a fairly recent invention. The first-generation devices of the 1980s and early 1990s were relatively slow in switching, and prone to failure through such modes as latchup and secondary breakdown. Second-generation devices were much improved, and the current third-generation ones are even better, with speed rivaling MOSFETs, and excellent ruggedness and tolerance of overloads. The extremely high pulse ratings of second- and third-generation devices also make them useful for generating large power pulses in areas like particle and plasma physics, where they are starting to supersede older devices like thyratrons and triggered spark gaps. Their high pulse ratings, and low prices on the surplus market, also make them attractive to the high-voltage hobbyist for controlling large amounts of power to drive devices such as solid-state Tesla coils and coilguns. Availability of affordable, reliable IGBTs is a key enabler for electric vehicles and hybrid cars. Toyota's second generation hybrid Prius has a 50 kW IGBT inverter controlling two AC motor/ generators connected to the DC battery pack.

Plasma Cutting Process

Plasma cutting, simply stated, is the process for cutting steel and metal of different sizes and thickness using a plasma torch. During plasma cutting, the inert gas or compress air used in some machines is ejected at high speed from the nozzle, while simultaneously, an electrical arc is made from the gas of nozzle to the surface to facilitate the cutting. This plasma is adequately hot to melt the metal that is cut and it also moves fast to blow the metal far from the present cut. Additionally plasma arc cutters and several other applications also deploy the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) plasma cutting technology to provide more commercial plasma cutting equipment.

How IGBT Plasma Cutters Work The IGBT plasma cutters adopt a different method to start the pilot arc and are better suited for professional environments. Many IGBT plasma metal cutters will often deploy high frequency starting technology, high voltage circuit just for the starting process while others use Pilot Arc starting technology, where the torch enables a constant arc without touching the work piece. The Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) versus the Metal Oxide Semi-conductor Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET) has been a controversial subject ever since the IGBT technology came into being in the 1980's. While developing light weight inverter based welders that consume less power, there are many technologies. Transistors are foundational to creating the welding arc by serving as tiny micro switches that deliver the power to the work electrode. Enormous technical information is available on the use and selection of these transistors and the suitability of each to different application.

IGBT technology for welding applications has certainly proved to more effectively handle the rigorous demands the high duty cycles welders as it offers higher voltage capacities and heat tolerances than the earlier MOSFET. IGBT Plasma Cutting Technology

It is a fact that MOSFETs are not ideally suited to handle the extreme heat and voltage pressure mounted on them by the industrial welding environment. While MOSFET is certainly sufficient when powering lower end welding equipment, they are not able to measure up when meeting the demands of heavy duty welding requirements. Of course, MOSFET technology is still available in a limited way in the welder manufacturer's list of products. This is to offer customers an economical alternative particularly for hobbyists and other enthusiasts. Most manufacturers cater to the needs of the professional welder and the welding industry in general by offering an all new line of IGBT based welding inverters. It has to be admitted that for certain low-end welding applications, MOSFET technology has failed unable to cope up when pushed to limits. IGBT technology, on the other hand, has proved extremely capable of handling all types of work, however tough. The transistors that were commonly used earlier were MOSFET but today things have changed and IGBT plasma cutters are the ones favored in commercial and industrial applications where the demand of the size of the amperage is high. The IGBT plasma cutter can be commonly found in several high current plasma metal cutting machines that put out more than 60amps of power. There are several IGBT plasma cutters and welders lined up in the market and most of them are of high quality, easily portable, competitively priced and widely bought by professional welding operators. VISIT OUR PLASMA CUTTERS AND WELDERS HERE.

**Info for this article courtesy of Everlast Power Equipment Inc. and Wikipedia

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