Hypertherm, a US based manufacturer of plasma, laser, and waterjet cutting systems, is back with its ‘Spark Something Great’ educational grant programme for 2017.

The programme will award Hypertherm’s newly introduced Powermax45® XP plasma cutting and gouging system to 10 North American schools. In addition, grant recipients will receive the full ‘Plasma Cutting Technology: Theory and Practice’ curriculum kit.

The program, now in its third year, is meant to support the next generation of welders and metal fabricators by making the newest generation of plasma cutting equipment and standardised instruction available to schools.

Manager of the Hypertherm educational program, Betsy Van Duyne, commented, “Providing support to the next generation of metal workers is of great importance to Hypertherm as we work to narrow the skills gap left by retiring baby boomers.”

“The versatility of the Powermax45 XP makes it an ideal system for schools as it provides teachers with the flexibility to teach both handheld and mechanised cutting, as well as applications such as gouging and marking with air plasma,” Duyne added.

In addition to the grant program, Hypertherm will continue to make all 10 hours of its AWS SENSE approved Plasma Cutting Technology: Theory and Practice curriculum available for free download to teachers.

The curriculum covers the plasma cutting process, common industrial uses for plasma systems, the difference between various cutting methods, safety procedures, as well as proper setup and operation. Electronic versions of each lesson, a facilitator’s guide, student workbook, and supporting reference material are all available from the Hypertherm website.

To date, teachers from more than 1,000 schools have taken advantage of the free download, helping standardise the teaching of plasma cutting to thousands of students.