What are the different types of metal cutting processes?
- Laser Cutting
- Oxy-fuel Cutting or Flame Cutting
- Waterjet Cutting
- Plasma Cutting
The different types of metal cutting processes are more diverse than you can expect. Technology has made it easier to cut metal into different shapes and sizes for multiple uses. Every result compared to past innovations is smoother and sturdier compared to before. You can get metal products quickly and efficiently with these cutting processes. Let’s take a quick look at the different processes you’ll encounter.
A lot of companies require accurate and clean results. There are lots of conventional methods out there but none of them will give the same result as a laser cutter. The powerful laser beam of the cutter is used for a lot of applications and shapes you can’t get from other methods. Even small Laser cutters for home use are available for hobbyists. Many industries, even entertainment, props, medicine, and more are making use of these large, accurate machines as a cost-effective way to mass-produce products quickly.
Laser cutting is quite a popular method that’s quick and accurate. In fact, lasers are used for many purposes. Laser cutting can be used for mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum plates. If you need to yield an accurate and clean-cut product. Using a laser cutter allows for the creation of different intricate shapes that you can’t normally get with conventional metal cutting methods. Laser cutting uses a highly concentrated beam of light that can produce high levels of heat. Laser cutters can be used with computer programs to create different designs with a very neat finish. Laser cutting is widely used in artisanal work because of the intricate results it produces.
Oxy-fuel Cutting or Flame Cutting
Flame cutting is oxygen cutting that allows for a material to be cut by an oxy-fuel gas flame. The oxy-fuel cutting technique is used for separating and shaping steel components. The oxy-fuel cutting process makes use of a torch that allows the oxy-fuel gas flame to pass through in a concentrated amount. An outer ring of jets helps by preheating the surface. The oxygen stream is then directed to the area that needs to be cut. A reaction occurs which causes the rapid oxidization of the steel and the material is removed by the pressure of the gas. It’s efficient and can be done both manually and computerized.
Not all metals can be used with high heat. You can risk the shape and the material itself if the heat is too high. Sensitive metals require a method that won’t damage the surface with heat. Waterjet cutting is the perfect method for that. Waterjet cutting mimics nature’s effect on metal at a much higher rate. The metal erodes through water jet technology and allows for the metal to be cut easily.
Waterjet cutting can be used for both soft materials and hard materials. The high pressure of the water stream can cut metal very easily. If you compare the power of a power washer and a waterjet cutter, the amount of power you get is 30 times more than a power washer. Different materials can be cut at the same time with a thickness of 4 inches at the maximum. To reduce the mess, the waterjet cutting method can need to be done underwater. Doing this underwater will also reduce splashing in the work area. Be cautious when using a waterjet as the technology is quite powerful.
Another recent method developed for metal cutting is the plasma cutting technique. It makes use of an electric arc that passes through the gas which spouts out of a constricted opening. The gases used in plasma cutting can be air, nitrogen, oxygen, and argon. When combined with electricity, plasma is created.
Plasma cutting torches involves the use of a copper nozzle to constrict a stream of gas that can cut the material. It can also involve the use of oxygen and inert gas at high speeds. Combined with electricity, a hot plasma stream is created to melt metal and blow away molten metal just as quickly. The result is similar to laser cutting as it’s just as clean and effective. However, you must take note that this will not give you accurate results compared to using a laser cutter. Use a laser cutter for the most accurate result.
The different types of metal cutting processes are essential for many industries. It allows manufacturers to create various steel and metal products for mass-produced purposes and more. Without efficient metal cutting, new products will not be as smooth and accurate in shape. It’s much better to have an efficient system that fits your metal manufacturing and cutting needs. The examples above are some of the latest forms of metal cutting but there are many others out there. Depending on what you need, some methods may work better for you than others.