Plasma manufacturers and suppliers often discuss this issue at length .
When the consumables used to cut are all new, the majority of major plasma manufacturers’ products will be of similar quality. It is when the consumables start to wear that users will start to see less cut quality.
One of the ways to measure this is called a four second cut whereby the material is pierced followed by a plasma cut lasting four seconds! We then count the number of times that a set of consumables can achieve this; Depending on the power, and the material cut, this could be around four thousand cycles!
The number though is confusing; different companies use different rules to judge when the consumables are past their best. Kaliburn quote a figure of less than two degrees of taper over the life of the consumables. We believe this to be the best in the industry.
Other manufacturers may base their consumable life on a cut taper of much higher than two degrees which may take thicker parts out of tolerance even though the consumables could be classes as being within specification.
There are lower cost copies of genuine consumables available, however cut quality and consumable life will not be as good; additionally their use may invalidate any extended warranty offered by the plasma manufacturers.