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What is flame cutting?


Flame cutting is oxygen cutting in which the appropriate part of the material to be cut is raised to ignition temperature by an oxy-fuel gas flame (definition from BS 499:Part 1:1991 Section 7 No.72 002).

Also known as oxy-fuel cutting, the process is used for separating and shaping steel components. It is carried out using a torch through which oxygen and a fuel gas (acetylene, propane or mains gas) are passed. An outer ring of jets in the torch nozzle are used to preheat the surface of the steel. A separate oxygen stream is directed from a central jet on to the area to be cut. Rapid oxidation of the steel takes place and material is removed by the pressure of the gases.

The process may be manual, where the cutting torch is held and guided by the operator, or mechanised, where the torch may be mounted on a machine. Cutting of complex shapes is possible. Cutting machines may be pre-programmed, using computer technology, to minimise material wastage of plate being cut. Multi-cutting head machines are available for high volume production applications.

Further information

Job knowledge for welders:

Oxyfuel cutting - process and fuel gases

FAQ: What is flame gouging?

Questions and answers. Gas Welding and Cutting. 2nd Edition. P H M Bourbousson & K Leake. Publ: London; Newnes Technical; 1982. ISBN 0 408 01180 7.

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