All steel mills produce standard sizes of bars (i.e. flat, round, square) and plates (i.e. 48” x 96”, 96” x 240”, 120” x 288” etc.). Consequently, the fabricator must have equipment to cut the bars or plate to a size which they can use for further processing. Other than shearing, sawing, grinding or water jet, wear resistant steel is usually cut using heat to melt the material. There are 3 main processes and each has its advantages.

Oxy Fuel

This process uses oxygen to melt steel that has been pre heated. In other words, the oxy fuel torch rapidly heats the steel to immense temperatures and the stream of oxygen, which is also in the torch, separates the melted steel.

Advantages:

  • Oxy fuel is very good at cutting/burning thick steel over 2” while keeping a reasonable tolerance.
  • Oxy fuel has little deflection or bevel to the cut.

Disadvantages:

  • Oxy fuel only works on carbon steel and is slow.
  • Oxy fuel usually requires some grinding post cut.
  • Oxy fuel can anneal or soften the steel creating a “Heat Affected Zone” (HAZ) on either side of the burn. However, this can be reduced by covering the steel in water or cutting under water.

Plasma

Plasma uses a very high temperature of ionized gas (up to 40,000°F), which is forced through a small nozzle, while an electric current adds energy.

Advantages:

  • Plasma can be used to cut most wear resistant steels, including stainless, aluminum, brass, copper, and carbon.
  • Plasma is fast and inexpensive to run.

Disadvantages:

  • Plasma is limited to only cutting up to a maximum of 2” thickness of steel.
  • Like oxy fuel, there is a HAZ, which will soften the steel. Though this can be reduced by burning the steel under a layer of water.
  • There is a small bevel to the cut. However, to get more precision to the cut, there is high definition plasma, which involves using a smaller diameter nozzle.

Laser

There are 2 types of laser:

  1. Fiber lasers use a solid-state source, which generates a beam that is delivered through a fiber optic cable to the laser head. The beam melts the steel in a very precise and controlled manner.
  2. CO2 lasers apply a high-voltage mixture of gasses to generate a laser beam which is reflected through mirrors to the cutting head. This beam also melts the steel to achieve very precise cutting tolerances.

Advantages:

  • Laser cutting provides tight tolerance.

Disadvantages:

  • Both types of lasers are limited to steel with thickness of less than 1”.

Water Jet

This is a very flexible cutting process that does not use any heat to melt the steel. In simple terms, high pressure water (60-90 KSI) is mixed with a very hard abrasive called garnet. The garnet actually digs out or abrades tiny particles of steel to make the cut.

Advantages:

  • Water jet can be used to cut steel with thicknesses of up to 10”.
  • Has the highest precision and tightest tolerances.

Disadvantages:

  • It is expensive and slow.

Titus Steel

Titus Steel uses Oxy Fuel, Plasma, High Definition Plasma, and Water Jet to cut wear resistant steel. Our fabrication facilities can cut and fabricate your parts in hours – not days. We have large inventories of wear resistant steels from ENDURA steel, Manganese steel, AR 500 steel, and AR 600 steel, and we have the equipment and solutions to solve your wear problems. Contact us now for your personalized quote.