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Choosing the Right Cutting Method

Posted April 14, 2010 8:30 AM by Hypertherm

Metal fabricators and steel service centers need to make smart choices to ensure the continued success of their business. This entry explores three of the most common processes: laser, Oxyfuel, and plasma. First, let's start with a very brief explanation of the three processes.

Oxyfuel Cutting

Oxyfuel uses a chemical or "exothermic" reaction between the oxygen and the iron found in mild (carbon) steel. This reaction is what causes a melting of the material. Oxyfuel is only used for cutting carbon steel (ferrous metal), and is typically used to cut plate greater than 2 inches thick.

Plasma Cutting

Plasma combines electrical energy with gas to create a high-temperature, ionized gas that cuts through any electrically conductive material. Plasma is great for ferrous and nonferrous materials, no matter what condition it's in. Rusted, painted and grated metal from up to 2 inches thick can all be cut with plasma.

Laser Cutting

Laser uses a high-power beam to heat, melt, and partly vaporize the material. Laser is good for all types of metal, though it does need to be in good condition (no rust). Laser is typically used for very thin plate, up to a quarter inch, though it can be used up to 1 inch thick.

What's the Best Method?

The cutting method you choose depends on your individual needs and what areas are most critical to you: cut quality, productivity, operating costs, profitability or flexibility.

Read the Whole Article

Editor's Note: This article was written by Kat McQuade, a product manager for Hypertherm, and is excerpted from the October 1, 2009 edition of Snips Magazine.

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#1

Re: Choosing the Right Cutting Method

04/16/2010 8:43 PM

What about water jet cutting?

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#2

Re: Choosing the Right Cutting Method

05/18/2010 8:22 AM

The Turret Punch should not be overlooked when considering cutting metal. The turret is stocked with various shaped cutting tools. The program automatically sequences the turret to combine tool shapes and produce a multitude of part shapes.

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