Plasma Cutting or Oxy Fuel Cutting Methods – Which is Right for You?

Original equipment manufacturers and contractors often outsource specialized fabrication services for large or complex fabrication projects. Heavy industrial fabrication jobs, in particular, require clean cuts on thick carbon and alloy steel plate. There are different fabrication methods and machinery used to make these cuts, namely plasma arc cutting and oxy fuel cutting equipment.  There are advantages of both cutting methods an OEM should consider.

When plasma cutting occurs, compressed air is combined with electricity through a funneling chamber, creating plasma gas. Intense air pressure forces the plasma gas through a nozzle creating an electrified cutting arc which is then applied to the base material.

Steel plates up to 2” thick are a good fit for plasma cutting as this method cuts quickly and precisely with a narrow kerf. Thinner steel plates can often be stacked during plasma cutting, making this an economical and efficient manufacturing process that also allows for tolerance control and repeatability.

Oxy fuel cutting, also known as flame cutting, uses oxygen combined with fuel to produce a gas torch flame. The flame jet is then directed at the base material, creating a chemical reaction required to “burn” through it and cut shapes from the steel plate. A high-precision flame cut and CNC technology are widely used in steel parts manufacturing.

Oxy fuel cutting is regularly employed to cut thick, structural, and abrasion-resistant metals such as carbon and alloy steel plate. Materials up to 12” thick can be cut using the oxy fuel method, with the high-powered oxygen jet removing slag from the kerf. The oxy burning process cuts large sections of material quickly and consistently, optimizing your workflow and reducing costs per part.

O’Neal Manufacturing Services (OMS) offers both plasma cutting and oxy fuel cutting services to produce high-quality metal components for our customers. A supplier of metal fabricated components, sub-assemblies, and weldments, our primary focus is to help original equipment manufacturers and contractors who are seeking a partner for any type of heavy plate fabrication project.