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Oxy-fuel cutting

Oxy-fuel cutting or autogenous cutting is the oldest process for cutting steel and is still the most frequently used thermal cutting process in the metalworking industry. This cutting process is used to cut both unalloyed and low-alloy steels.

Oxy-fuel cutting is a cutting method in which the iron is burnt out of the steel with a stream of oxygen. In order to reach combustion, the steel is heated to ignition temperature (around 1150°C) by one or more gas burners. A separate flow of oxygen is sent through the core of the brander. This results in oxidation, causing the steel to burn and releasing large amounts of heat that maintain the cutting process both through the metal and in the cutting direction. Iron oxide, or slag, formed in the process is then forced out of the cut by the kinetic energy of the stream of oxygen leaving a clean cut edge. Machines using this process can cut steel to size, ranging from 3 mm to in excess of 1000 mm. The cutting speed and quality of the resulting cut are determined, to a greater or lesser extent, by the purity of the oxygen, which needs to be at least 99.5%.

Given the nature of the process, oxy-fuel cutting is suitable only for the cutting of steel. De Boer Snijbedrijf uses the plasma cutting process to cut stainless steels.

Oxy-fuel cutting machine

De Boer Snijbedrijf uses oxy-fuel cutting machines.

Drawings can be supplied digitally, in DXF, DWG or DSTW format and read into De Boer Snijbedrijf's CAD/CAM programs Profirst and SigmaNEST.

Benefits of oxy-fuel cutting

  • Oxy-fuel cutting of large sheets up to 4250 x 50,000 mm
  • Oxy-fuel cutting of thick sheets up to 750 mm.
  • Suitable for quick cutting and work in series thanks to a portal with 6 burners.
  • Significantly lower cost for equipment needed compared with other cutting processes.

One disadvantage of oxy-fuel cutting is that the edge is rougher. The cut is less precise in relation to laser, water or plasma cutting. In high-carbon steel, the zone adjacent to the cut can show signs of becoming brittle (serious loss of ductility or strength, or both).

Difference between plasma cutting and oxy-fuel cutting

There is a big difference between plasma cutting and oxy-fuel cutting. Materials (such as stainless steel and aluminium) that are not suitable for oxy-fuel cutting can be processed using the plasma cutting method. In the plasma cutting method the work piece is heated to the melting point by the plasma arc, while the kinetic energy generated by the gas ensures that the melted material is removed. In the oxy-fuel cutting process the material is burned and the liquid slag is blown away. The inherent difference between flame cutting and melt cutting makes it possible to cut stainless steel and aluminium with plasma cutting, while oxy-fuel cutting cannot be used on these materials.

Click here for more information on plasma cutting or laser cutting.