Which System Do I Use? Flame Cutting Vs Plasma Cutting
Plasma and flame cutting are two thermal cutting techniques that are capable of cutting metals. However, they differ in a number of ways.
Flame Cutting is a thermal cutting technique that uses oxygen and fuel gas to produce a heated flame. It can cut steel up to four feet thick with the right equipment. This process is inexpensive and portable as it doesn’t require any power supplies. Its versatility and high cutting capacity make it an excellent choice for fieldwork.
Plasma cutters are often a better choice for applications that require precision and cut quality, such as cutting stainless steel or aluminum. They can cut thinner metals fast and provide smooth cuts with less slag production. Although they are expensive to purchase, plasma torches usually require lower maintenance costs and operate more efficiently than other systems. They don’t need refills of fuel or acetylene and can handle a wide range of material thicknesses, including thin materials.
Speed & Precision
Plasma cutting is a fast and precise way to cut metals that conduct electricity. It can be used to slice aluminum, stainless steel, copper, titanium and other metals. This process is capable of cutting many types of conductive metals at very high speeds and can be automated easily. It is a fast, efficient way to cut a wide range of materials at very high speeds, but it has limitations. One of the biggest ones is that it cannot cut materials that are thicker than a few inches.
Flame cutting is often slower than plasma due to the time it takes to preheat the cut piece. It also requires more heat than plasma. For example, it can take an oxy-fuel flame over a minute to cut through a 2″ thick piece of carbon steel, while it can take around 15 seconds with a plasma cutter.
There are a variety of cutting processes available, but it is important to choose the right system for the specific project. Using an incorrect system can lead to poor quality cuts and increased production costs. To use a plasma cutter safely, you must be in a well-ventilated area and wear the proper PPE (protective clothing, safety shoes, welding gloves, and a welding apron when appropriate). You also need to keep all flammable materials at least 30 ft. away from the work area.
The safety procedures when flame cutting are similar in essence. You must protect your eyes by wearing a face shield or safety glasses that have an accurate lens shade. You must also screen off the cut area and warn those who may be nearby before you start the arc. You must also keep a large distance between the work area and flammable materials. This is especially important for areas that have no air intake or where ventilation is minimal, such as confined spaces.