How to Determine if Oxy-fuel Cutting is Right for Your Business

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.

What is Oxy-fuel Cutting?

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.

Advantages of Oxy-fuel Cutting Systems

Enhanced Ability to Cut Thick Metals

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.

Accurate, Straight-Edge Cuts

Because of their high accuracy, oxy-fuel cutting systems can create quality, straight-edge cuts. They’re also ideal for bevel strip cutting.

Improve Metal Strength

The high heat of the oxy-fuel cutting system hardens metal, increasing its strength and durability along the cut edge.

Improve Productivity

Oxy-fuel cutting systems can be equipped with multiple oxy-fuel torches, which increases productivity and minimizes processing time.

Enhanced Versatility

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 Disadvantages

Material Limitations

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.

Continuous Purchases

Oxy-fuel torches aren’t dependent on primary power or compressed air, but they do require you to purchase gas at regular intervals.

Weighing Oxy-fuel Cutting Advantages and Disadvantages: Is it Right for You?

When you’re trying to decide between oxy-fuel or another type of cutting system, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.

What Will You Be Cutting?

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.

What is the Thickest Material You’ll Need to Cut?

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.

Still Not Sure What’s Right for You? Talk to the Experts

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.