Flame cutting or plasma cutting?
In order to produce individual steel blanks, there are various manual and computer-controlled methods for flame cutting. In this article we would like to roughly outline the differences of the various commercially available CNC controlled flame cutting processes.
Autogenous flame cutting is suitable for structural steels and above all for medium and larger material thicknesses up to 1000mm. The Company Caadex In about can produce fuel cuts with a cutting thickness up to 500mm. Common systems can process material thicknesses of approx. 5-300mm.
The advantages of this method are the low cost and the high achievable material thicknesses. Disadvantages are the concomitant phenomena of high heat input, such as scaling and distortion. For higher accuracy requirements must be reworked. This method is particularly suitable for heavy steel structures made of structural steel.
Plasma cutting is suitable for all electrically conductive materials. Material thicknesses up to approx. 150mm can be processed.
Plasma cutting is very efficient with small and medium sheet thicknesses and is characterized by very high cutting speeds. The method is very suitable for cutting high-alloy steels or aluminum. There are also special designs that allow plasma cutting underwater. This achieves more accurate cross-sectional images and less distortion due to the lower heat input.
Laser cutting is mainly used for thin sheets. Common sheet thicknesses for these procedures are up to 20mm. The process is characterized by high accuracy of the blanks. In addition, very small radii or narrow contours can be created, so that even smaller holes can be made with it. Depending on the requirements, it is often unnecessary to rework these contours. The heat input during laser cutting is very low, so that distortion of the blanks is not a problem. The components can also be engraved by laser in the same step, which is very advantageous in mechanical and plant engineering to avoid confusion of blanks.