What is Oxygen cutting?

Oxygen cutting is a technology with a long tradition that is constantly being improved and developed, and is one of the most popular methods used for processing steel, most often low-alloy and low-carbon steels. It is also used for cutting metal sheets covered with corrosion or in packages. Oxygen cutting is used where there is a need to cut steel of considerable thickness, maintaining precise results and high efficiency.

Oxygen cutting flame

Technology characteristics

Process of this type of cutting consists in heating the surface of the processed material to the ignition temperature. The next step is to supply oxygen under high pressure. For correct cutting results, the cleanliness of the cut should be at least 99.5%. As a result of these two actions, the processed material is oxidized and blown out of the fracture. The heat of combustion is generated and heats the deeper layer to the ignition temperature. The rest of the process takes place internally to cut the workpiece as a result. In order to properly carry out the gas cutting process, a specially designed torch that mixes fuel gas with oxygen, should be used.

Oxygen cutting is not appropriate for machining some materials. This is caused by the flash point. In the case of pure iron, it is 1050°C. When we try to treat steel with 1.5% carbon admixture, the temperature rises to 1380°C. Therefore, gas cutting works well for cutting low-carbon and low-alloy structural steels.

Oxygen cutting cannot be employed for cutting of metals for which the melting point of oxide is higher than that of metal. A few examples of such metals are lead, cast iron, aluminum, copper, brass, etc.

Oxygen Cutting

Oxygen cutting

What kind of gases are used?

Fuel gas used to generate the flame has also great importance for the cutting process. The most commonly used gases are acetylene and propane. Oxygen cutting with acetylene enables very high temperatures to be achieved in a short time. Economical customers choose propane when fast heating is not needed, and it allow to save some money.

Heating flame is responsible for..

  • Elimination of contamination from the surface of the material being cut. A clean surface of the processed material is essential for the proper conduct of the gas cutting process
  • Guaranteeing the metal temperature appropriate to initiate the process (over 1050°C)
  • Providing the thermal energy needed to sustain the cutting process
  • Creating a protective atmosphere for the oxygen stream so that no air enters it

The Equipment

The equipment of oxygen cutting is versatile, including torches, regulators, valves, and gas hoses.

Typical gas cylinders car Typical gas cylinders car

  • Torches are used for welding, cutting, heating, and depositing metals. There are several types of torches, including welding torch, cutting torch, rosebud torch, and injector torch.
  • Regulators are used to making sure the gas pressure from the tanks matches the hose pressure. There are two stages of regulators; a fixed-pressure regulator as well as the adjustable regulator.
  • Gas hoses are designed color-coded to make them easy to identify. In the US, the fuel hose is red while the oxygen hose is green. Meanwhile, in the UK and other parts of the world, the oxygen hose is blue and the fuel hose is red.
  • Valves are installed between the regulator and hose and between the hose and torch. The main purpose of the installation is to prevent flame and explosion.

There are several advantages to using gas technology. First and foremost, it is the most economical method of thermal cutting that can cut a wide range of material thicknesses. The investment and operating costs are relatively low compared to other technologies. Considering the processing of metals with really high thickness, the quality of the cut is very good. In addition, gas cutting is possible at various angles, while maintaining perpendicular edges.


Operation of an oxygen cutting machine

Oxygen cutting machines are technologically advanced CNC cutting machines. In order to fully use their potential, the user should know not only the basic instructions and the principle of operation. It is worth supporting the work with the device with the knowledge gained during training sessions dedicated to operators and technologists.

YouTube Video
Demonstration Oxygen cuttingYouTube

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