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Technology Factsheet

Plama Arc Cutter

Category: Dismantlement > Non-Mechanical Cutting Equipment > Plasma Arc
Reference # : Model No : PCM/M-80

The PCH/M-80 Torch provides cutting capacity of up to I inch (25.5 mm) at 80 amperes. In the torch, a single torch lead provides compressed air or nitrogen (N2) from a single source to be used as both the plasma and secondary gas. The air flow is divided inside the torch head. Single-gas operation provides a smaller sized torch and inexpensive operation. Plasma torches are similar in design to the common autotmotive spark plug. They consist of negative and positive sections which are separeted by a center insulator. Inside the torch, the pilot arc is initiated in the gap between the negatively charged electrode and the positively charged tip. Once the pilot arc has ionized the plasma gas, the superheated column of gas flows through the small orifice in the torch tip, which is focused on the metal to be cut.

Benefits

Technology is mobile, easy to operate, and relatively simple to set up and tear down. This cutting tool was able to perform the size reduction of one glove box and one tank. Production and cutting rates are high, however, workers' exposure to hazardous conditions was also high due to elevated generation of fumes. Cutting activities can be conducted under safe conditions for operators, evaluators and the environment. Rigging equipment was not required since FRAMATOME's operators size reduced each surrogates in manageable small pieces facilitating manual removal

Limitations

Airborne generation was high and included fumes and vapors, which contained lead (e.g., lead-lined glove box)and chromium and nickel as by products from thermal decomposition of stainless steel. The plasma arc cutting creates sparks, spatters, and ultraviolet light, which are potential eye and skin hazards. It produced a high energy/thermal impact on the glove box, tank, and containment space. A temperature sensor was set aproximately 7 ft. away from cutting area and the maximum temperature reported was 99 øF while the plasma arc cutting occurred. The noise produced by this technology inside of the containment was 100 dB and outside the containment was 80 dB. Secondary waste generation was molten metal slag and pre-filters and Hepa filters, as well as considerable amounts of airborne particulate.

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