Pilot Arc Start
Pilot Arc Plasma Cutters use a high voltage oscillator to force sparks to jump from the electrode to the inside of the torch tip. This sparking ionises the cutting gas (usually compressed air) and facilitates the ignition of the plasma arc without the need to keep the torch tip grounded during the ignition process such that it acts like a small blow torch. When bringing the pilot arc to the job the main plasma cutting arc is ignited instantly. The entire process is activated by a push button on the torch handle. Pilot arc start plasma cutters range from inexpensive and easy to operate to expensive and complex when used in robotic applications. They are favoured anywhere curves or shapes need to be cut that an angle grinder or bandsaw will struggle to do.