The plasma process is basically very similar to the TIG process but has a number of critical advantages. These make it an interesting alternative to laser welding where tough quality demands have to be met, especially on sheets and other components with a sheet thickness of up to 8 mm (0.31 in.).
In plasma welding, the arc is constricted by a cooled gas nozzle. The powerfully bunched arc that results does away with the need for time-consuming weld preparation work such as V- or U-type joint preparation. This saves as much as 30 % of the fi ller metal. In turn, the higher welding speed – around 20 % faster in soft-plasma welding, for example – saves time and costs at the same time as ensuring deeper penetration. Also, being enveloped in plasma gas, the tungsten electrode has a much longer service life.