Cutting torch test
Flame cutting is probably one of the most widespread thermal applications for separating metallic workpieces or other mineral materials from each other. Due to a variety of different devices, there is a flexible use, which is used in many parts of industry, on building sites or in workshops. Depending on the location, a portable single device or a stationary flame cutting system can be used to perform thermal separation. Especially for low or unalloyed steel a flame cutter offers great advantages. In addition, a special flame cutting process enables the processing of aluminium, copper and many other mineral materials.
What is a cutting torch?
A cutting torch is also called a flame cutting device. A distinction is made between hand cutting torches and machine cutting torches. These tools are used to thermally separate metals and other materials from each other. The separation can be done by different burning systems, on the one hand by the injector torch and on the other hand by the pressure torch.
It is possible to carry out flame cutting both manually and mechanically, depending on the device. In this way, a high degree of flexibility is achieved in combination with a high quality of cut, very precise cut surfaces and relatively low costs.
How does a cutting torch work?
Regardless of whether it is a hand cutting torch or a machine cutting torch, with both devices the material to be cut is melted at the beginning and then burned (oxidized) and blown away. A gas flame is used for the flame cutting process, which heats the material precisely where the cut is to be made. Now oxygen is added to carry out the combustion process and blow out the kerf.
With an injector burner, the oxygen is sucked into the burner. In this way, the oxygen and fuel gas mixture can be adjusted directly and correctly. With a pressure torch, on the other hand, the mixture of oxygen and gas only occurs in the cutting nozzle. This process requires a much higher pressure, which is passed through a separate pipe. For this reason the pressure torch has a third tube.
The possible applications
A cutting torch is often used in industry, on building sites or in workshops. A cutting torch is also part of the basic equipment of the fire brigade or the technical aid organisation. The portable hand cutting torch is very well suited for processing scrap metal. Due to the unclean cutting edge, however, it is not possible to create reasonable construction parts with it.
In industrial production, therefore, a stationary or mobile flame cutting system is used, which can be operated manually or automatically. In the handicraft a flame cutting machine is often used, which is controlled manually. In industry, on the other hand, torch cutting machines or robots are used, which enable autogenous torch cutting to be automated.
Suitable for whom?
Portable torch cutters are very suitable for workshops or construction sites that want to separate metals or other materials without using them as construction parts. As already mentioned, the industry makes use of the automated flame cutting system, as it is ideal for professional work on structural steels. In addition to the normal flame cutting machine, the industry also uses a special cutting torch. This requires additional sand, powder and flux in order to work with it.
Anyone who likes to be on the road as a craftsman will certainly appreciate the advantages of an angle grinder. If the angle grinder is increasingly used in a workshop or on a construction site to cut solid material or certain shapes from thick plates, a cutting torch is definitely the better choice. If the settings for the torch cutter have been made correctly, with a little practice, straight cuts with clean edges can be made in a very short time. In this way, precise work can be carried out promptly and without much effort.
A flame cutter is needed to thermally separate different materials. The material to be cut should have a minimum tensile strength of 1000 N/mm². It is usually heated to an ignition temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius during the process. If the steel has a minimum tensile strength of 800 N/mm², it must be heated beforehand in order to work with it. The fuel gas used is acetylene oxygen or a mixture of propane/butane oxygen.
The right nozzle is important during the burning process, as the gases are brought together in it to create a heating flame. The nozzle attachment must match the thickness of the workpiece and the torch. The correct nozzle can be identified by a marking on its surface indicating the cutting area as well as the bar indication of acetylene and the oxygen pressure.
The performance features
The process of flame cutting is ideal for the material steel. It must be ensured that it is unalloyed or low-alloyed steel. A large number of other materials can only be cut to a limited extent. Here, it is possible to use a special process, such as metal powder flame cutting. Flame cutting is characterised by the fact that it is possible to process different material thicknesses. In addition to the thermal separation of metals and the execution of different cuts, it is also possible to produce quite complicated shapes. This is especially advantageous for construction parts.
- easy handlingProduction of complicated mould machining of thick material thicknesses possible Low repair costs thanks to exchangeable spare parts
- Fire hazardChange in material at the cutting edgeTension condition of the workpiece
What is tested?
In the case of a flame cutter, not only the handling but also the functionality is tested. The performance is just as important as the safety for the person working with it. There must be no gas leakage and the hose connections must be intact. The connections are checked for tightness and all individual components are checked for accuracy of fit. During the cutting process, the temperature on the metal is measured and the effects of the enormous heat are checked.
Care and cleaning
Every tool requires regular and thorough cleaning. For a torch cutter, whether it is a hand cutting torch or a machine cutting torch, cleaning also plays an important role. Nozzle cleaning is an important factor to ensure that the cuts are clean and straight. To clean the nozzles, a nozzle cleaning drill is required, which is available as an option. For cleaning, the valve must be opened for oxygen so that all dirt can be blown out of the nozzle.
In addition, there is the possibility of cleaning with a chemical agent or with an ultrasonic cleaning device. Which method is used depends on the type of nozzle. In addition to nozzle cleaning, machine cleaning is necessary at regular intervals. This cleaning should be carried out by service companies that are especially active in the industrial sector and have experience in this field.
What does a cutting torch cost?
The purchase of a cutting torch should be well considered. The acquisition costs of a machine cutting torch are only worthwhile when there is an economic capacity utilisation. The actual cutting process cannot be changed at will and is mainly determined by the thickness of the material. The thicker the material, the longer the cutting process takes.
This also applies to the acquisition costs of a machine cutting system. Industrial machines are significantly more expensive, but are also used professionally. The costs for the acquisition start at about 40.000,00 Euro. But it does not always have to be new. Often there is also the possibility to buy this high-quality machine as a used model. The equipment is usually in a very good condition and fully functional.
Who repairs cutting torches?
The repair of a cutting torch is usually carried out by a mechanical engineering or welding company. They check the cutting torch for function and tightness. This prevents gases from escaping and thus endangers the safety of the employees. If there are any damaged parts, for example porous hoses, they are replaced.
Worn threads are recut to ensure continued operation. Of course, the service of these companies also includes the blasting, pickling and possible brushing of the respective tools. Once a year, the machine cutting equipment is also checked and its suitability for use is ensured in accordance with the legal requirements.
What can a cutting torch do?
A cutting torch is used, for example, to thermally separate metals or other mineral materials. In addition, a large machine cutting unit is capable of cutting certain shapes. Before the cutting process can begin, the material should be sufficiently preheated. The torch should always have the same distance and the feed should be even.
For the straightest possible cut, the use of a guide block is very advantageous. The cutting time is about 40 centimeters per minute. In addition to a straight cut, complicated shapes can also be easily worked out. In this case, a template is made which is transferred to the steel. In many cases, this template is now also replaced by a specification in a computer program.
The 5 major manufacturers and their respective characteristics
The best known manufacturer of cutting systems and oxyfuel technology is without question Messer Griesheim. In addition to various gases and gas mixtures, the manufacturer is also widely used in the field of systems to be used with gas in industry.
Just like Messer Griesheim, Zinser Schweißtechnik GmbH is also represented in many companies worldwide in the field of oxyfuel technology, cutting systems and automats as well as professional hot-air devices.
The company Kurtz GmbH, based in Kreuzwertheim, also sells not only cutting systems for panel and contour cutting, but also automatic moulding machines, machines for metalworking and various casting machines, which play a major role in the industry.
The manufacturer Peter Bogacki e.K. is specialized in cutting machines, cutting lasers and CNC plasma cutting machines, which have a firm place in the automotive industry and in the sheet metal processing industry. The individual manufacturers of these systems are characterised by high-quality products that have a long service life and meet high demands.
What accessories are available?
The main advantages of a cutting torch are the fact that there is a wide range of spare parts and a lot of accessories available. Safety is the first priority. The gas cylinders should have a valid TÜV stamp and the hoses must not be porous. These are optionally available and should be checked regularly and replaced if necessary. A cutting torch can easily be positively expanded with various elements. These include, for example, a guide carriage that helps to make a straight cut. Furthermore, a circular cutting device, two-part slotted or ring nozzles or block flame cutting nozzles are available as optional accessories.
What to look out for when buying?
The purchase of a flame cutter should be well thought out and well thought out. Depending on the size of the device, sufficient space and the possibility of adequate ventilation is necessary. In any case it is important to consider which fuel gas to use. Here the choice is between the fuel gases acetylene or propane/butane. The further costs as well as their amount depend mainly on the prices for the respective fuel gases.
Good reasons for cutting torches
- A cutting torch convinces by its relatively simple handling.for professional work, various optional accessories can be purchased without any problems.in addition to straight cuts, special shapes can also be created for certain constructions.the repair costs are relatively low, as these are mostly individual components that can be replaced separately from each other.when working with a cutting torch, a high degree of safety is ensured, as the nozzles are gas-mixing nozzles.wear is very low and durability is extremely long.