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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When operating a CNC plasma cutting system, it’s imperative to use consistent gas pressure to ensure the highest quality cuts. Additionally, ensuring a steady plasma cutting gas pressure may help extend the life of your torch. But, how do you guarantee a steady gas pressure while the machine is in use? Here, we break down everything you need to know.
Plasma cutting uses a high velocity stream of ionized gas to cut through electrically conductive metals. These metals may include steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and copper. During the cutting process, an electric arc is struck between an electrode and the workpiece. The electrode is recessed in a water- or air-cooled gas nozzle that constricts the arc, which causes the plasma jet to form. When the plasma jet hits the material, it melts the metal and the gas flow removes it from the cut.
CNC plasma cutting machines are computer controlled, allowing them to deliver precise and accurate cuts, every time. These high-tech, reliable systems are perfect for a wide range of industries, including the fabrication and welding, automotive, and construction sectors, among others.
Plasma cutting gas flow plays a vital role in achieving quality cuts. If the gas pressure is too low, the plasma stream will be unstable and will not be able to effectively cut through the material. On the other hand, if the gas pressure is too high, the plasma stream will be too powerful and can cause the material to become distorted or blown apart.
Using consistent gas pressure helps to maintain a stable plasma stream, which results in more precise cuts. If the gas pressure is not consistent, it can lead to variations in the quality of the cuts, which can result in rework or even scrap material. A consistent gas pressure also helps extend the life of the plasma torch, as fluctuations can put unnecessary strain on the equipment.
Using a quality CNC plasma cutting machine is the best way to ensure consistent gas pressure. For example, all AKS Cutting Systems machines have a dynamic gas control system that governs the incoming gas pressure to the proper flow rates. This helps ensure a high-quality cut, every time.
Our CNC plasma cutting machines — including the tru-kut, accu-kut, and dura-kut models — are the industry standard for high-quality plasma cutting. With over 100 years of experience and a robust relationship with Hypertherm, we’re ready to match you with the best plasma cutting system for your organization.
Since 1912, AKS Cutting Systems and our parent company, Kiffer Industries, have been providing the best machines from our factory headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. We are a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated company that provides Made-in-the-USA equipment for a variety of industries. Our CNC plasma, waterjet, oxy-fuel and fiber laser cutting systems regularly serve businesses in the plate metal, tube and pipe, sheet metal, and fabricating sectors.
We have a strong reputation for durability, accuracy, and reliability, with thousands of happy customers worldwide. We also offer our customers access to an extensive service and support network, should any issues arise.
When you’re ready to upgrade to a CNC plasma cutting system, we’re here to help. Contact our helpful team today.
In its simplest form, oxy-fuel cutting is a thermal cutting process that uses oxygen and fuel gas to cut through material. Oxy-fuel cutting systems have a wide range of benefits for various industries, but you should consider all aspects of the machine before making a purchase. Let’s dive into oxy-fuel cutting advantages and disadvantages and determine if it’s right for your business.
During the cutting process, oxygen mixes with acetylene, propane, propylene, or natural gas; this results in an intensified chemical reaction within the steel oxidation process that allows for a powerful cutting force. The flame preheats steel to its ignition temperature, which is directed at the metal to create a chemical reaction between the oxygen and metal to form iron oxide — also referred to as “slag.” The oxygen jet removes the molten slag from the material (this cut area is called a kerf), resulting in a clean cut.
Oxy-fuel cutting systems are ideal for cutting through thick metals, such as carbon steel between 2 and 6 inches thick. Plasma cutting systems, on the other hand, usually cut metals that are less than 2 inches thick.
Because of their high accuracy, oxy-fuel cutting systems can create quality, straight-edge cuts. They’re also ideal for bevel strip cutting.
The high heat of the oxy-fuel cutting system hardens metal, increasing its strength and durability along the cut edge.
Oxy-fuel cutting systems can be equipped with multiple oxy-fuel torches, which increases productivity and minimizes processing time.
Oxy-fuel torches can cut, weld, braze, solder, heat, and gouge. Therefore, they can provide your business with a wide range of services for the cost of only one piece of equipment.
Oxy-fuel cutting systems are typically used to cut ferrous material — metal that contains iron. This makes oxy-fuel cutting a desirable option for working with carbon steel. However, it’s not suitable for cutting stainless steel, and is not often used for cutting cast iron or aluminum.
Oxy-fuel torches aren’t dependent on primary power or compressed air, but they do require you to purchase gas at regular intervals.
When you’re trying to decide between oxy-fuel or another type of cutting system, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.
The type of material you’ll work with will influence whether you should purchase an oxy-fuel cutting system or another type of equipment. If you’ll be working with ferrous materials, an oxy-fuel cutting system is the best way to go. However, if you plan on working with aluminum or stainless steel, it’s best to go with another system, like a plasma cutter.
If you’ll continuously be working with thicker metals, you’ll save time and money by using an oxy-fuel cutting system. On the other hand, if you’re working with thinner metals, a plasma cutting system may be the better choice.
AKS Cutting Systems has over 100 years of experience in the cutting systems industry. That expertise uniquely positions us to evaluate which kind of cutting system is right for your business, and match you with an appropriate piece of equipment.
We are a fourth generation, family-owned and operated company that believes in keeping manufacturing within the United States.We are one of the only Made-in-the-USA manufacturers of 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 industries.
We have a strong reputation for durability, accuracy, and reliability with thousands of installations worldwide. We partner with many high-quality machinery sales dealers, including Hypertherm, and we have an extensive service and support network.
When you need advice on which cutting system is right for you, contact our team.
Laser and plasma cutting systems are both used in the manufacturing space, easily readying metal for use across a host of industries. While similar, laser and plasma cutting systems are not interchangeable. Each has its own advantages, along with recommended applications. So, laser cutting vs. plasma cutting: what’s right for your organization? Let’s dive into the specifics.
Though laser cutting may look to be a modern process, the first prototype dates back to 1960. The design was later adapted by Western Electric in 1965, which used laser cutting machines to cut holes in diamond dies. By the mid-1970s, the company was producing laser cutting machines at a rapid rate for commercial use.
As its name suggests, laser cutting uses a laser to cut materials for industrial applications. It may also be used for artistic purposes, but it’s mainly used for manufacturing with aluminum, stainless steel, mild steel, and titanium. Common industries that use laser cutting include the aerospace, construction and automotive sectors, among others.
How is the laser created? The laser is directed through optics and computer numerical control (CNC) to direct the beam for a precise cut. Inside a special machine, there’s stimulation of lasing materials through electrical discharges or lamps inside a closed container. As it’s being reflected internally via a partial mirror, the lasing material amplifies until it has enough energy to escape as a stream of light. The light is focused at the metal by mirrors or fiber optics that direct the beam through a lens, intensifying it, and allowing it to easily make an exact cut.
Plasma cutting is even older than laser cutting, with the first prototype invented in the 1950s. A company called Thermal Dynamics sold its first plasma cutting system to Ryerson Steel for processing large quantities of stainless steel. Since then, there have been many advancements in the technology, leading to highly efficient, durable, and reliable machines on the market today.
Plasma cutting involves using ionized gas to melt and expel material, making cuts in metal. Plasma cutters are most often used in fabrication shops, automotive repair and restoration, industrial construction, and salvage and scrapping operations. The specialized machines can cut any electrically conductive metal, including steel, aluminum, copper, brass, and other ferrous and non-ferrous materials.
So, how does the plasma cutting machine actually work? It sends an electric arc through a gas that is passing through a constricted opening. The gas can be shop air, nitrogen, argon, oxygen, or another type of gas, depending on the operation. The machine elevates the temperature of the gas so much that it enters a fourth state of matter—plasma.
Whether a laser cutting or plasma cutting system is right for you depends on your organization. Laser cutting systems are typically more expensive to operate but they offer a level of detail that plasma cutting doesn’t. If you’re looking to do more engraving details or cutting out small shapes from metal, a laser cutting system will be right for you. However, if you’re looking to make simple cuts, a plasma cutting system will be the best option.
It will also depend on what kind of metal you’re cutting. Plasma cutting systems can cut through thicker sheets of metal than laser cutting systems. Plasma can cut through metal up to 3 inches thick, whereas lasers can cut through .5 inch thick aluminum, .75 inch thick stainless steel, and 1 inch thick steel. However, plasma can only cut through metals that conduct electricity, whereas lasers can cut through most types of metal—excluding copper—along with wood, plastic, glass, and other materials.
At AKS Cutting Systems, we’re well-versed in matching our customers with the right cutting system for their operation. We’ll work with you to understand your unique needs and recommend one of our durable, accurate, and reliable cutting systems.
Since 1912, AKS Cutting Systems and our parent company, Kiffer Industries, has been on the forefront of machine tool design and build from our factory headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. As a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated company, AKS Cutting Systems is one of the only Made-in-the-USA manufacturers of 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 industries.
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