Hobart Upgrades its Portable Air Plasma Cutting Line with Inverter Tech; Unveils Power Savvy AirForce 500i and AirForce 700i

Highlights/Key Facts


AirForce 500i

  • Connects to 115- or 230-VAC power using simple Multi-Voltage Plug, (MVP)

  • Excels at cutting 3/8 in. mild steel and can even sever 5/8 in. steel

  • Ideal for light construction, body shops, HVAC duct work


AirForce 700i

  • Largest cut capacity of Hobart™s line: rated cut on 5/8-in. mild steel, can sever 7/8-in.

  • Draws up to 30-percent less amperage than competitive units

  • Ideal for maintenance, light construction, body shops and fabrication


APPLETON, Wis., Aug. 27, 2009Hobart Welding Productstoday introduces the AirForce 500iand AirForce 700iportable air plasma cutters. Both units are built with the latest inverter technology for a lightweight, yet powerful design compared to previous models. Featuring an ergonomic trigger safety, more efficient air consumption and economically priced torch consumables, both units offer numerous conveniences and a cutting performance that directly benefits those working in light industrial applications such as maintenance, light construction, body shops, fabrication and HVAC.


Available through farm/ranch and hardware/tool retailers in the US and Canadian markets, the AirForce 500i has an MSRP of $1,299 US, and the AirForce 700i has an MSRP of $1,499 US; prices will vary by retailer.


Out of the Box Convenience

Both the AirForce 500i and 700i come ready with Hobart™s 16.5 ft. (5 m) ergonomic hand-held torch; designed for increased comfort, more efficient post-flow air cooling and economical replacement tips. The units come with extra replacement tips (2 tips, 2 electrodes), and a convenient cable management strap for easy transportation.


When either unit is attached to an air compressor, Hobart™s new HP torch is more energy efficient using less gas flow/pressure to achieve the same output as previous models. The AirForce 500i requires a 3.0 cubic foot per minutes (CFM) gas flow/pressure at 90-120 PSI. The AirForce 700i requires 4.8 CFM at 90-120 PSI. 


AirForce 500i Flexible Power Options

Ideal for light construction, body shops and HVAC ductwork, the AirForce 500i weighs 27.8 lbs., about half the weight of its predecessor and has the ability to plug into standard 115 or 230 VAC power receptacles using the included Multi-Voltage Plug (MVP)”no tools required. 


Its 27-amp output offers exceptional cutting performance on sheet metal and 3/8-in. mild steel, slicing at 14 inches per minute (IPM). The AirForce 500i cuts faster than mechanical or flame-cutting units, and beats or matches all other plasma machines in its category.    


AirForce 700i Heavy Duty Cutting

The 31.4 lbs. AirForce 700i was built for power and offers the largest capacity within Hobart™s line of plasma cutters. Operating on 230V input power, its 40-amp output offers a ¼-in. to 5/8-in. rated cut on mild steel and can sever up to 7/8-in.


Reliable Performance Features

From the workshop to the jobsite, a plasma cutter simply needs to function when needed most. Both the AirForce 500i and 700i incorporate proven technology and performance features carried over from previous models:

  • Wind Tunnel Technology Designed and tested for reliability and durability in rugged, dirty conditions by keeping dust and metal particles from damaging internal components.

  • Fan-On-Demand Reduces the amount of airborne material pulled through the unit by turning on the cooling fan only when needed (machines without this feature have a fan that runs continuously.)

  • Power Factor Correction (PFC) circuitry Uses incoming power with a higher efficiency compared to competitive units, drawing 30-percent less amperage for the same cutting range. PFC also expands operators work area via extension cord, while minimizing nuisance circuit breaker trips caused by voltage drops.

  • LVC line voltage compensation Even with dirtyÂť power where the voltage varies by up to 15 percent, AirForce units maintain a steady arc with full cutting output. Most other units only operate within a 10-percent window. The AirForce 500i and 700i finish cuts cleanly by providing a burst of peak performance power to sever the last piece of metal. This reduces or eliminates the need for grinding.


For added protection during transportation from job site to job site, the rugged design places the air filter and regulator inside the unit™s steel casing.


When it comes to performance while operating off an engine drive™s generator power, no plasma cutter in its class performs better than the AirForce units. Paired with an engine drive that has a 240V outlet and at least 8 kW of generator power, the AirForce 700i can deliver its full cutting capabilities, while the AirForce 500i needs only a 6 kW generator for full output.


No other manufacturer offers a better warranty than Hobart does. The AirForce 500i and AirForce 700i is backed by Hobart™s 5/3/1 warranty, which covers the power source for three years and the HP torches for one year on parts and labor.


Image Information

AirForce 500i and 700i.jpg

Caption: The AirForce 500i and 700i from Hobart Welding Products embody inverter technology to offer fabricators increased portability and flexible power options coupled with the largest cutting ability in Hobart™s line.


Product manager quotes

Flexible power options are handy, especially with a 28 lbs. plasma cutter,Âť states Scott Rozmarynowski, product manager, Hobart Welding Products. Anyone working in construction, maintenance, HVAC or body/fabrication shops will appreciate the speed at which they can set the AirForce 500i up for 120 or 230V power all without the use of any tools.Âť


About Hobart Welding Products 

Hobart Welding Products offers a complete line of industrial-grade Stick, MIG, TIG and spot welders, plasma cutters and generator/welding power sources designed for easy use. Hobart products are available through farm and tool retail stores as well as welding supply distributors. 


Hobart Welding Products is a division of Hobart Brothers Company, Troy, Ohio, a wholly owned subsidiary of Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE: ITW). Based in Glenview, Ill. ITW is a multinational Fortune 200 company that engineers and manufactures welding products, fasteners, components, assemblies and systems for customers around the world.

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