One of the ways to process metal products is by cutting. It is the division of workpieces into separate parts. Metal can be cut not only mechanically. It is also possible to separate parts of the metal from each other by means of thermal cutting, which involves critical heating of the treated area.
The advantages of thermal cutting of metal
Thermal cutting involves such processing of metal products, which uses strong heating of the metal. As a result of the action of the tool, a groove is formed in the material, and the workpiece is divided into parts. Distinguish between separation and surface thermal cutting.
The advantage of high temperature cutting over mechanical cutting is clear: it offers higher productivity with very low energy consumption.
Thermal cutting makes it possible to obtain products of the most complex configuration at the exit, even if the metal has a significant thickness.
Thermal cutting types
There are several types of thermal cutting in metalworking. The most common cutting is by fusion, oxidation and a combined method, which includes these two types.
When cutting by the oxidation method, the workpiece in the cutting zone is heated to a high temperature that allows the metal to ignite in an oxygen atmosphere. After that, the metal particles are burnt in a gas stream. The resulting heat is used to warm up other areas of the processed material. The combustion products are forced out of the cutting zone with the same gas jet. An example of this type of heat treatment is flame cutting.
Fusion cutting is different. With this method, the work area is heated with a very powerful heat source. The temperature of this source exceeds the melting point of the metal. Particles of molten metal are squeezed out of the cut by the force of the plasma arc and by means of electrodynamic forces. Examples include arc, plasma and laser cutting.
One of the oldest and well-proven methods of thermal cutting of metal is gas. It is sometimes also called autogenous. The cut in the material is created by a directed jet of gas from the torch in a specific direction. In production, automatic stationary cutting devices are used, which are controlled by electronics.
For processing metal in hard-to-reach places, manual type cutters are most often used.
Gas cutting allows you to cut metal of considerable thickness, while the cost of processing remains very low. But this type of cutting also has disadvantages. These include the poor quality of the metal edge at the cutting site. In addition, such cutting is difficult to use for separating thin metal sheets, since they are subject to severe thermal deformation.