When it comes to cutting metal with plasma, there are two types of torches to consider – touch and non-touch (or non-pilot arc and pilot arc). The type you choose will depend on the thickness of the metal you need to cut and also whether the metal you are cutting currently has any surface coatings or rust present on its surface. At Boss Tables, we are your source for an array of plasma cutting machine options to help you achieve the efficient and accurate cuts you need to make in the shop.

Touch (Non-Pilot Arc) Plasma Torches

A touch (non-pilot arc) plasma torch uses drag touch technology to cut the metal. The torch tip must stay in close contact with the material being cut. These non-pilot arc plasma torches allow eject plasma for cutting when the cutting tip makes contact with the metal. Operators use these torches often to cut metal plates and thin sheet metal. The primary issue when using a touch (non-pilot arc) plasma cutting torch is that you must remove paint, coating, or rust on the surface prior to contacting the surface with the torch cutting tip. Otherwise, the torch will not eject plasma for cutting.

Non-touch (Pilot Arc) Plasma Torches

Non-touch (pilot arc) plasma torches generally require a high-frequency discharge of plasma to produce an electric arc under high voltage. With this type of plasma torch, you don’t need to contact the metal with the torch nozzle. The electric arc starts prior to the nozzle touching the metal. Pilot arc, non-touch plasma cutting machine torches are preferred when cutting thick metal, although they can also cut metal sheets just as easily as non-pilot arc plasma torches. Non-touch plasma cutting technology lets you cut with the cutting tip further from the workpiece without loss of the arc.

Professionals and DIYers alike have their own preferences when it comes to using either a touch or non-touch plasma cutter. Each plasma cutter has its own benefits and the type you choose to use will depend on your preferences and cutting application.

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