Thermal cutting of steel is used on a large scale to obtain workpieces in desired dimensions and shapes from steel plate.
Oxy-fuel (flame) cutting and plasma cutting are frequently used processes.
In the oxy-fuel (flame) cutting process the cutting is effected by rapid oxidation (burning) of steel. After pre heating by means of a gas flame, additional oxygen is supplied to initiate the burning and blow out the molten slag.
When plasma cutting, ionized, conductive gas (plasma) is formed by means of an electric arc. Thereafter the steel is melted by the plasma and then blown out by a gas jet.
Depending on the thickness and number of products to be manufactured, plasma cutting can be a good alternative to oxy-flame cutting.
Some specific features of plasma cutting are:
- A high cutting speed; depending on material properties up to 7 times higher than with oxy fuel cutting.
- Less heat input.
- Smooth finish of the cutting seam, which means less finishing is needed.
- Thicknesses from 3 to 40 mm.
- Using Hypertherm's SureCut ™ technology, patented True Hole® technology, a higher quality of cut out holes can be achieved.
Oxy-fuel (Flame) cutting
Oxy-fuel flame cutting is an existing process for decades to cut steel products in the desired shapes and dimensions from steel plates.
- Partly due to the use of advanced CNC cutting machines with multiple cutting heads, oxy-fuel cutting is still a very efficient and widely chosen way of cutting steel.
- Products from unalloyed and (low) alloyed steels can be cut in thicknesses from 3 to 600 mm.