Monday, November 29, 2010

Why is it that in some countries, oxy cutting torches are often manually operated?

I find it amazing that so many users operate machines where the distance between the oxy-fuel torch and the workpiece is adjusted manually. When I ask the question “Why?” the answer is often “We used to have an automatic control system but it gave up working after a few weeks”. What I would like to stress is that these were not clearance control systems supplied by IHT. Our systems work reliably over many years.
There are many reasons for using automatic clearance control systems, they increase productivity and quality, torches last longer, replacement parts costs less and there are no collisions between the workpiece and the torch.

The importance of gas cutting is underestimated.

Even in the cutting industry there are fashion trends. As a new cutting method becomes fashionable, methods that had until then been used widely, start to be neglected. At present laser cutting is the “In” technique, a few years back it was plasma cutting. As plasma became fashionable, the popularity of oxy-fuel declined.
Considering all the advantages of oxy-fuel, I don’t understand why it is not still more widely used. I see the benefits as being lower capital and operating costs, straighter and more accurate cuts and the possibility to cut thicker material. There are a few disadvantages of course, cutting stainless steel isn’t possible, more heat is transferred into the plate and the cutting process is slower. In emerging countries, oxy-fuel cutting is less widely used than in more developed parts of the world, indeed in some countries, the oxy-fuel process isn’t used at all. I think this is wrong and we should re-consider the use of oxy-fuel cutting.