The steel plate is a kind of construction material. There are different types of steel plates, with each type being more appropriate for certain situations or specifications. As steel plates have different uses and types depending on the project, they are also cut into different dimensions in order to meet the specifications of the project. There are different ways to cut these into specific sizes and lengths.
Considered to be the simplest and the most inexpensive method to cut steel plates, oxy-fuel cutting is a thermal cutting technique that uses oxygen and fuel gas. It can efficiently cut through steel plates up to 12 inches in thickness. It uses the heat burned from the oxygen and the fuel gas to heat the metal to its ignition point. This process weakens the metal and generates iron oxide which the gas blows off, cutting the steel plate.
Compared to the other methods, oxy-fuel cutting is inexpensive, portable, and requires lower costs and investments. This method can cut thick steel through a large surface area. However, this method can take long depending on how many torches there are working on the steel.
Plasma cutting is another method that cuts steel plates. Like oxy-fuel flame cutting, plasma cutting uses a stream of hot gas to cut material. Plasma torches possess an electrode in the nozzle, which generates an arc of electricity between the nozzle and steel plate. This nozzle, typically water or air-cooled, focuses a stream of superheated and ionized gas which cuts down the material. This stream is a combination of electricity and compressed gas. This method cuts metal with ease and precision.
Plasma cutting is portable and also easy to learn. Manual input or computers can guide plasma torches. They are generally low maintenance. However, they don’t work well on thicker plates, and despite their low maintenance, plasma torches can be expensive if they break.
Laser cutting uses an intense laser beam to heat and slice the metal on a particular path. There are different laser cutters for different kinds of projects. Laser cutting is highly accurate and precise, and is generally used to cut mild steel plates rather than the thicker variants of steel plates.
Software can be used to guide the laser’s cuts, making laser cutting extremely useful for precise and intricate designs on steel plates. It is better to use for thin and mild steel plates, and anything thicker than such would require oxy-fuel cutting or plasma cutting instead.
Which one should I use?
It’s up to you and the project you’re undertaking! The work required, after all, may need different methods. As a result, you should think about what you will be working with, what fits into the budget, and the skillsets available to you.