5 Tips for Effective Oxy-Fuel Cutting Operations

oxy-fuel cutting

Ensure Quality Cuts with Tips from AKS Cutting Systems

Oxy-fuel cutting systems are designed to provide precise, efficient cuts for a variety of industries, including the metal fabrication, automotive, and aerospace sectors, among others. These industries require accurate parts to ensure the safety of consumers; that means your equipment must deliver quality cuts, every time.

How do you ensure your equipment is working properly? What steps can you take to provide the best quality cuts for your parts? Here, we break down some tips for an effective oxy-fuel cutting operation.

What is Oxy-Fuel Cutting?

The oxy-fuel cutting process uses oxygen and fuel gas — such as acetylene, propane, MAPP, propylene or natural gas — to cut through materials. A mixture of oxygen and fuel gas preheats the metal to its ignition temperature. Once it reaches this point, a jet of pure oxygen initiates an exothermic chemical reaction between the oxygen and the metal to form slag. The oxygen jet blows the slag away, enabling the jet to pierce through the metal and provide a quality cut.

How to Create Quality Cuts, Every Time

Use the Correct Oxy-Fuel Cutting Equipment

The quality of your torch and your choice of fuel gas can dramatically impact the quality of your finished parts. Your torch must be in good condition to ensure both the safety of your operators and the quality of your cuts. You must also use the correct fuel gas for the material you’re cutting.

Perfect Your Cutting Techniques

The speed and angle of your torch, as well as its distance from the material, all play a role in the quality of the cut. The torch should be held at a consistent angle to the material — typically 90 degrees. The torch should also move at a consistent speed, depending on the material type and its thickness.

In addition to the torch angle and speed, you must also maintain the correct distance between the torch and the material. This distance, known as the “standoff,” should be kept as small as possible while still allowing the flame to fully cut through the material.

Ensure Accurate Cutting Parameters

Different materials require unique cutting parameters, such as cutting speed, torch nozzle, and gas flow rate. Softer materials like aluminum may require a slower cutting speed and a “cooler” gas mix, while harder materials like steel may require a faster cutting speed and a “hotter” gas mix. Thicker material may require a slower cutting speed and more preheat time.

The Right Preheat Settings are Crucial to a Quality Cut

Preheating your material can help improve cut quality and reduce the risk of warping. Every material will have a unique preheat time, which will also vary depending on the material thickness.

The preheat flame should be adjusted to the correct temperature and applied to the starting point of the cut. This should allow for an easier cutting process, and significantly improve the end result. However, it’s important not to overheat the material, as this can lead to distortion or even melting of the material, causing blemishes to the cut part.

Use Correct Post-Cut Practices

After completing the cut, you should ensure the material is properly cooled. You should also remove any slag or other debris using a slag hammer or chipping tool. This will help ensure the best surface finish and the longest lifespan for your parts. It also helps to quickly dissipate the heat from the cut area and prevent any warping or distortion.

Get an Oxy-Fuel Cutting System that Provides Quality Cuts, Every Time

AKS Cutting Systems provides top-quality machine tools and the support you need to get the most out of your equipment. Our CNC oxy-fuel cutting machines use industry-leading torch assembly to ensure reliability and accuracy. They can also be equipped with multiple oxy-fuel torches to increase productivity and minimize processing time. With many deluxe key features, AKS Cutting Systems machines are some of the most sought-after equipment on the market today.

For over 100 years, AKS Cutting Systems and our parent company, Kiffer Industries, have been on the forefront of machine tool design and build from our headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. We are a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated company, providing Made-in-the-USA machines for a variety of industries. Our offerings include CNC cutting machines for plasma cutting, waterjet cutting, oxy-fuel cutting and fiber laser cutting systems for the plate metal, tube and pipe, sheet metal, and fabricating sectors.

Ready to Hear More About Our Systems?

With a strong reputation for durability, accuracy, and reliability, we’ve done thousands of installations worldwide. Our helpful team is ready to match you with the best cutting system for your needs. Contact us today.

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