Argon Arc Welding Supplies, exclusive distributors for Hyundai and CEA consumables and CEA welding equipment in South Africa, is launching the CEA range of SHARK plasma cutting equipment into the local market. Andy Chrysanthou highlights some key features of the range. 

AF June 2018 Argon Arc plasma cutter Shark 105 argon arcThe SHARK range of plasma cutting equipment is the result of considerable capital and R&D investments,” Chrysanthou begins. “When fitted with CEA’s new technology torches, these machines offer remarkably better quality and speed in all aspects of the cutting process: neat cut lines, lack of dross, narrow heat- affected zones and much squarer edges,” he says.

SHARK plasma cutting power sources are an efficient solution for cutting metal and perforated sheet. Electronic control, coupled with inverter precision and flexibility provides the parameter accuracy and repeatability needed to obtain quality cuts for a wide variety of thicknesses and material types.

SHARK power sources feature: electronic control; high-flow air circulation; pilot arc striking; the ability to cut grates and perforated sheets; contact cutting with currents lower than 50 A – without any guiding device; built-in air regulators and filters; highly visible and easy to read control panels; metallic main structures with shockproof fibre-compound front frames; and electrical protection to maximise operator safety.

Lightweight and handy, the single-phase SHARK 25 has a built-in compressor, and is the ideal solution for maintenance jobs, light fabrication work, and car body and agricultural equipment re- pairs. The larger single-phase SHARK 45, with a cutting capacity of up 40 A (35% duty cycle) for cutting thicknesses of up to 15 mm, includes PFC (power factor correction) technology and is the choice for car and truck body repairs, agriculture and maintenance.

Powerful and compact, the smallest three-phase SHARK 75 unit, which weighs only 23 kg, is targeted towards medium and light fabrication work. Precise cutting performance enables quality cutting to be achieved at high speeds and, if used with the SK75 HPC (high-performance cutting) technology torch, a powerful and concentrated cutting beam can be used to produce a narrower kerf and better precision. Smart start and smart end cutting functions also enable better-optimised initial and final cutting control.

The range is completed with the larger SHARK 105 and SHARK 155 machines capable of cutting up to 35 and 50 mm plate, respectively. Robust and precise, these machines ensure very high quality cutting results on large thicknesses.

SHARK 75-M, SHARK 105-M and SHARK 155-M equipment, when fitted with one of the SMK machine torches, are also suitable for automated cutting use. These power sources can easily be connected to cutting control systems with the ability to manage the ON/OFF, cutting arc control parameters and the torch height.

SK and SKM torches

The SK and SKM torches used for SHARK equipment are the result of research carried out in the last decade to improve the performance of plasma cutting by optimising the controllability and thermal-energy concentration of the plasma stream.

SK25 to SK65, torches, used on single-phase equipment, are based on back-striking technology, which produces consistently precise arc striking leading to longer consumables life. In conventional torches without high frequency, arc striking is achieved using compressed air, which moves the electrode head away from the inner part of the nozzle. This system causes both electrode and nozzle deterioration due to repeated pilot arc striking between the two points.

In contrast, the back-striking system takes place at the back of the electrode and nozzle, thus leaving the air flow exit area free of damage. Advantages include: longer consumables life; precise and safe striking; and slower degradation of cut quality over time.

SK75, SK125 and SK165 torches for manual cutting and SKM75, SKM125 and SKM165 machine torches for mechanised cutting are characterised by HPC (high performance cutting) technology. This gives: high cutting speed; optimal quality and cleanliness of the cut surfaces; a concentrated plasma cutting beam; lack of dross; a smaller heat-affected zone; longer life of the consumables; and lamination piercing in shorter times.

These new-generation CEA HPC plasma torches feature radial and swirling plasma gas flows around the cutting arc axis. This creates a very high temperature beam that melts and vaporises the surface being cut much more efficiently. The technology also avoids the double-arc phenomenon – the formation of two arcs in series between the cathode and the workpiece surface –which is the main reason for arc instability and damage to the nozzle.

All SK and SKM torches are also fitted with a coaxial cable that combines flexibility with robustness and resistance to crushing.

From a local service perspective, Chrysanthou says that Argon Arc welding technicians routinely attend courses at CEA’s International headquarters in Italy. “Our knowledge has enabled us to specialise in the support, operation and repair of all CEA welding and cutting equipment.

“Our highly trained sales staff can also assist in sales of welding consumables, gas cutting equipment, welding equipment and safety equipment – and we remain strong on the manufacture of custom-built column and boom, gantries, rotators and other mechanised and auto-mated systems,” he concludes.

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Peter Middleton
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