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A simple explanation to CNC profile cutting - Flame or Plasma tables

A CNC profile cutter is a metal plate cutting machine that utilises plasma and or oxy-fuel cutting technology to cut through metal.

For years Messer Cutting Systems, ESAB, BOC, Koike, Esprit, Kerf, Farley, ACS, Hypertherm ProArc and SAF have been providing cutting edge technology for the metalworking industry worldwide. Allowing both straight and bevel oxyfuel and plasma cutting to ensure the quality, reliability, and savings to the cutting process.

You might want to jump straight to our recent Blog on Plasma Cutter FAQs

Oxy-Fuel Cutting

Oxyfuel flame cutting is the most economical process for the cutting of mild and low alloy steel, even with weld preparations. It is one of the most important production processes in the metal industry.

Oxyfuel or flame cutting is a combustion process using oxygen/fuel gas flame. The heating flame brings the material up to its ignition temperature. Then a jet of oxygen at least 99.5% pure is blown onto the heated spot. The oxygen jet oxidizes the metal then the torch is moved and a narrow cutting kerf is created, removing the slag from the kerf. The quality of the cut depends on the surface condition of the material, cut-velocity, and thickness.

All low alloy steel with a material thickness up to several inches can be cut with this process. Despite the increasing significance of the other cutting processes such as Plasma and Laser cutting, Oxyfuel flame profile cutting is still a very economical process. For heavy material thicknesses up to 35 inch (900mm) there is no alternative to Oxyfuel flame cutting.

Oxyfuel cutting ensures reliable hole-piercing, high cut quality which the production of components to their finished sizes without the need for further processing. For weld seam preparations V, Y, and K cuts can be produced.

Plate thickness: 1/8 inch (3 mm) up to 35 inch (900 mm)
Typical: 3/8 inch (10 mm) up to 12 inch (300 mm)

Good cut quality
Smooth, vertical planes of cut
Metallurgical perfect surfaces (oxidized)
Carbonizing and hardening within the area of the heat affected zone
High heat input
Wide range of material
Low cutting speed

Profile cutting systems for sale

Plasma Cutting

Plasma cutting was originally developed for the thermal cutting of materials which were unsuitable for flame cutting, such as high alloy steels or Aluminum. Today, the process is also used for the economical cutting of thin, low alloyed steels.

One common definition of plasma is to describe it as the fourth state of matter. We normally think of the three states of matter as solid, liquid, and gas. For a common element, water, these three states are ice, water, and steam. The difference between these states relates to their energy levels. When we add energy in the form of heat to ice, the ice melts and forms water. When we add more energy, into the water it vaporizes into hydrogen and oxygen, in the form of steam. By adding more energy to steam these gases become ionized. This ionization process causes the gas to become electrically conductive. This electrically conductive, ionized gas is called a plasma.

The plasma cutting process, as used in the cutting of electrically conductive metals, utilizes this electrically conductive gas to transfer energy from an electrical power source through a plasma cutter torch to the material being cut.

The basic plasma arc cutting system consists of a power supply, an arc starting circuit and a torch. These system components provide the electrical energy, ionization capability, and process control that is necessary to produce high quality, highly productive cuts on a variety of different materials.

The power supply is a constant current DC power source. The open circuit voltage is typically in the range of 240 to 400 VDC. The output current (amperage) of the power supply determines the speed and cut thickness capability of the system. The main function of the power supply is to provide the correct energy to maintain the plasma arc after ionization.

The arc starting circuit is a high frequency generator circuit that produces an AC voltage of 5,000 to 10,000 volts at approximately two megahertz. This voltage is used to create a high intensity arc inside the torch to ionize the gas, thereby producing the plasma.

The Torch serves as the holder for the consumables especially nozzle and electrode, and provides cooling (either gas or water) to these parts. The nozzle and electrode constrict and maintain the plasma jet.

Plate thickness: 1/32 inch (0,8 mm) up to 6 inches (150 mm)
Typical: 1/8 inch (3 mm) up to 3 inches (75 mm)

Low to high cut quality
Smooth, edge surface
Metallurgical perfect surfaces for welding
Medium heat input
Excellent cutting speed
Hardening within the area of the HAZ
Wide range of material

Standard Equipment from most manufacturers

  • Emergency Stop Button: To quickly and safely shut off machine motion and cutting process, including oxy-fuel gases to the torch
  • Maintenance Free Guide Rollers: Sealed bearings for linear roundway.
  • Rail Axis & Cross Axis Limit Switches: Used for over-travel as well as homing of the machine.
  • Slave Carriage Band Clamp: allows easy and accurate placement and spacing of tools such as, oxy-fuel and plasma torches.
  • Operator Console: Hard-wired switches for selecting oxy-fuel station, oxy-fuel processes and gas system control.  The CNC is mounted to a remote pedestal.
  • Rail Axis Cable Carrier: Is mounted to the rail pedestal weldment.  The cable carrier keeps all of the hoses & cables organized during machine movement.
  • Linear Way and Heat Shields: Replaceable linear roundway provides for a smooth and accurate cutting motion.  Heavy duty heat shields protect machine from heat and sparks.
  • Large Diameter Drive Pinions: Large diameter pinions offer accurate and smooth machine motion.
  • Maintenance Free Guide Rollers: Sealed bearings for linear roundway
  • Rail Axis Drive Rail: Precision ground rail and rigid pedestal weldment provides the stability for smooth and accurate machine motion.
  • Consumables are key to the best cutting quality. Read our Blog to give you some tips on getting the most out of your consumables.

Optional CNC Controls

  • Profiling machines use a system know as CNC (computer numerically controlled) to control the cutting torch.
  • In simple terms a CNC controlled cutting system, due to its computer control, is highly accurate, often a tolerance of +/- 1mm to 3mm depending on thickness.
  • CNC plate cutting machines operates from a CAD (computer aided design) file loaded into it.

Plasma Systems & Options

  • Hypertherm, Kjellberg, ESAB, Victor, Thermal Dynamics are conventional plasma cutting systems which allow production cutting from 1/2" mild steel to 1" mild steel.
  • Laser Pointer: Allows operator a visual indicator for plate alignment and torch positioning

Plasma Height Control & Options

  • Plasma Height Control & Options include: HSensor PHC, Torch Height Control, and Manual Plasma Bevel Station.

Oxy-Fuel Systems & Options

  • Oxy-Fuel Systems & Options include: Auto Ignitor, Oxy-fuel Torch stations, Marking options, Hi-Lo Oxy-Fuel gas system with Auto Ease-On.

Table Options

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