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What are the advantages and disadvantages of the principal cutting processes?

 

Frequently Asked Questions


ProcessAdvantagesDisadvantages
Oxy-fuel Low capital cost Primarily limited to mild and low alloy steels
No electrical requirements Less suitable for stainless steels and aluminium
Consumable costs low Wide HAZ
Can be used manually or mechanised Quality influenced by parameters and torch nozzle and plate surface condition
Transportable  
Can be used to cut thick sections  
All positions  
Plasma Wide range of materials including stainless steel and aluminium Typically limited to 50mm (air-plasma) plate
Narrow HAZ Noise when cutting thick sections
Low consumable (air) costs Fume when cutting in air
Ideal for this sheet material Arc glare when cutting in air
Low fume when cutting underwater Consumables (electrode and nozzle) costs
High quality cut edge (HTPAC)  
Laser Extremely narrow cut width (0.1mm) High capital cost
Minimal distortion High maintenance costs
Small HAZ Cutting thickness <20mm
Very high cutting speeds (up to 10m/min) Screening of beam
Cut edge does not require dressing  
Metals and non-metals  
Abrasive water jet No heat generated High capital cost
Minimal distortion Safe handling of water jet
Wide range of metals and non-metals Containment of water
Hazardous (explosive) environments Noise
  Wide cut width
  Abrasive cost (cannot be recycled)

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