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i35 – G2®

i35-G2 | Small Cantilever

CUTTING SIZE: 915 x 1525 mm

High-Pressure Waterjet Cutter
Cantilever Style Machine

i510 – G2®

i510-G2 | Medium Cantilever

CUTTING SIZE: 1525 x 3050 mm

High-Pressure Waterjet Cutter
Cantilever Style Machine

i612 – G2®

i612-G2 | Large Cantilever

CUTTING SIZE: 1830 x 3660 mm

High-Pressure Waterjet Cutter
Cantilever Style Machine

i613 – G2®

i613-G2 | Monoblock

CUTTING SIZE: 1700 x 3700 mm

High-Pressure Waterjet Cutter
Monoblock Style Machine

i713 – G2®

i713-G2 | Smaller Gantry

CUTTING SIZE: 2000 x 4000 mm

High-Pressure Waterjet Cutter
Gantry Style Machine

i815 – G2®

i815-G2 | Medium Gantry

CUTTING SIZE: 2350 x 4750 mm

High-Pressure Waterjet Cutter
Gantry Style Machine

i1020–G2®

i1020-G2 | Large Gantry

CUTTING SIZE: 3050 x 6100 mm

High-Pressure Waterjet Cutter
Gantry Style Machine

i1033 – G2®

i1033-G2 | XLarge Gantry

CUTTING SIZE: 10000 x 3000 mm

High-Pressure Waterjet Cutter
Gantry Style Machine

Industrial cutting techniques are at the core of manufacturing processes, playing an important role in shaping raw materials into finished products.

These techniques encompass a wide range of methods, each designed to meet specific requirements based on the material, precision, and finish quality desired.

From traditional mechanical cutting to advanced laser and waterjet cutting, the evolution of these methods reflects the industry’s drive towards efficiency, accuracy, and minimizing waste.

This article delves into the diverse world of industrial cutting, exploring how they have become fundamental to the fabrication, construction, and production sectors.

What Is Industrial Cutting?

Industrial cutting is a fundamental process in the manufacturing industry, essential for shaping, sizing, and preparing materials for further assembly or finishing.

This process employs various methods to slice through materials ranging from metals to plastics, ensuring precision and efficiency in production.

At its core, industrial cutting transforms raw materials into usable components, playing a crucial role in product development and manufacturing workflows.

What Are the Different Industrial Cutting Techniques?

Industrial cutting methods vary in complexity, precision, and suitability for different materials, showcasing the industry’s versatility in addressing diverse cutting requirements.

From traditional mechanical approaches to advanced laser and waterjet cutting, the selection of a cutting technique is pivotal for achieving desired outcomes in terms of accuracy, finish, and material integrity.

Die Cutting

Die cutting stands as a precise and efficient method, akin to using a cookie cutter, but for industrial materials. Employing steel rule dies, this process excels in creating simple to complex shapes from a variety of materials such as foam, rubber, plastics, and cork, with or without adhesives. Its versatility and precision make it a preferred choice for producing detailed parts with clean edges.

Rotary Die Cutting

Elevating the capabilities of traditional die cutting, rotary die cutting introduces a cylindrical die that rotates against a mandrel.

This technique is celebrated for its precision, especially with thinner materials, enabling tight tolerances and high repeatability.

Ideal for high-volume production runs, rotary die cutting can efficiently process materials with or without pressure-sensitive adhesive, through both die cutting and kiss cutting.

Kiss Cutting

Kiss cutting refines the die cutting process by cutting parts to the exact depth of the adhesive’s release liner, allowing the part to remain on the sheet or roll.

This method is especially beneficial for creating stickers or labels from laminates of various materials, including foam, sponge, rubber, plastics, and EMI/RFI shielding materials.

Kiss cutting ensures ease of part handling and application, making it a popular choice for industries requiring precision-cut adhesive parts.

Splitting

Specifically tailored for foam materials, splitting accurately divides open-cell and closed-cell foams to any desired thickness.

Utilizing custom-built, computer-controlled equipment, this splitting guarantees exceptional accuracy, making it indispensable for applications requiring foam components with precise thickness specifications.

Slitting

Slitting complements the cutting processes by resizing materials into narrower widths, accommodating any width specification. Slitting is applicable to a diverse range of materials, including plastics, rubbers, foams, papers, and foils, with or without adhesives. Slitting is essential for preparing materials for further processing or final application, highlighting the adaptability of industrial cutting methods to various production needs.

Chip Forming

Chip forming is a fundamental metal cutting process where material is removed through mechanical means, creating chips. This method employs tools like lathes, milling machines, and drills, which shear off pieces of metal to achieve the desired shape. It’s widely used in manufacturing parts for automotive, aerospace, and machinery due to its precision and versatility.

Pros:

  • High precision and control over the final product.
  • Versatile, suitable for various materials and shapes.
  • Economical for large-scale production.

Cons:

  • Can cause tool wear, requiring maintenance.
  • Generates waste material in the form of chips.
  • Requires coolant to manage heat.

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting stands out for its precision and speed, employing a high-powered laser beam focused on a material to melt, burn, or vaporize it. This technique is versatile, capable of cutting metals, plastics, and composites with intricate details. Machines designed for laser cutting are sophisticated, allowing for automation and high repeatability.

Pros:

  • Exceptional precision and ability to cut complex shapes.
  • Clean cuts with minimal finishing required.
  • Fast and efficient for high-volume production.

Cons:

  • Higher initial investment in machinery.
  • Limited by material thickness and type.
  • Safety concerns due to high-intensity laser.

Waterjet Cutting

Waterjet cutting uses a high-pressure stream of water, often mixed with abrasive particles, to cut through materials. It’s known for its versatility, able to cut through metal, stone, glass, and composites without introducing heat, thus preventing material distortion.

Pros:

  • Can cut a wide range of materials without thermal distortion.
  • Leaves a smooth surface, reducing the need for secondary finishing.
  • Environmentally friendly, as it generates no heat or harmful byproducts.

Cons:

  • Slower than laser cutting for certain materials.
  • Consumes significant amounts of water and abrasive.
  • Requires substantial maintenance to keep the high-pressure system functioning.

Pioneering in waterjet cutting, TechniWaterjet has been at the forefront of developing high-pressure abrasive waterjet cutting solutions for over 35 years.

Our commitment to innovation and quality ensures that clients receive the ultimate waterjet cutter tailored to their specific needs.

By focusing on challenges unique to each business, TechniWaterjet exemplifies its mission to deliver reliable and innovative waterjet products and services, ensuring customers, employees, and business partners alike benefit from superior value and shared success.

Plasma Cutting

Plasma cutting utilizes a plasma torch to heat and melt material in its path, expelling the molten metal to create a cut. It’s particularly effective for cutting thick metal plates and is favored for its speed and cost-effectiveness in projects requiring less precision.

Pros:

  • Fast cutting speeds, especially for thicker materials.
  • Lower cost compared to laser cutting.
  • Versatile, capable of cutting a variety of conductive metals.

Cons:

  • Not as precise as laser or waterjet cutting.
  • Heat-affected zone can alter material properties.
  • Generates noise and requires ventilation for fumes and dust.

Oxy-Fuel Cutting

Oxy-fuel cutting is a traditional method that uses a combination of oxygen and a fuel gas to cut through metal. It’s particularly suited for thick steel plates, where it excels in efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Pros:

  • Highly effective for cutting very thick metal plates.
  • Equipment is relatively simple and inexpensive.
  • Portable, making it ideal for fieldwork.

Cons:

  • Limited to metals that can oxidize, primarily steel.
  • Slower compared to more modern cutting methods.
  • Requires careful handling of gases for safety.

Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM)

Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) stands out as a fascinating cutting method, leveraging electrical discharges or sparks to cut through materials. This technique is particularly suited for hard metals that are challenging to shape with traditional cutting methods. The process involves an electrode and the workpiece, not making direct contact, but the electrical discharges between them remove material from the workpiece.

  • Applications: EDM is invaluable in producing intricate molds, dies, and components with complex geometries.
  • Pros: High precision, ability to cut hard materials, and minimal mechanical stress on the workpiece.
  • Cons: Slower cutting speed and higher operational costs compared to some other techniques.

Transitioning from the electrically charged world of EDM, we approach methods that employ physical forces in unique ways, such as Ultrasonic Cutting.

Ultrasonic Cutting

Ultrasonic cutting uses high-frequency sound waves to generate vibrations in a blade, enabling it to cut through materials smoothly. This technique is especially effective for soft, pliable materials.

  • Applications: It’s widely used in food processing and textiles, offering clean cuts without damaging the material.
  • Pros: Precision cutting with minimal material loss, and it’s excellent for soft and delicate materials.
  • Cons: Limited to softer materials and requires specialized equipment.

As we move from the vibrations of ultrasonic cutting, we explore the realm of Mechanical Cutting, where physical force and traditional cutting tools come into play.

Mechanical Cutting

Mechanical cutting encompasses a variety of methods, including sawing, milling, and turning, utilizing physical tools to cut and shape materials.

  • Applications: It’s versatile, suitable for a broad range of materials from metals to plastics.
  • Pros: Cost-effective for large volumes and offers versatility in cutting shapes and sizes.
  • Cons: Can produce rough edges and may not achieve the precision of more advanced cutting techniques.

From the brute force of mechanical methods, we shift to the precision and finesse of Abrasive Jet Cutting, where particles become the cutting tool.

Abrasive Jet Cutting

This cutting technique uses high-pressure jets of water or air mixed with abrasive particles to cut through materials. It’s akin to waterjet cutting but tailored for more specific applications.

  • Applications: Ideal for cutting intricate shapes in materials like metals, ceramics, and stones.
  • Pros: Leaves a smooth surface finish and can cut through thick materials.
  • Cons: High operational costs and slower cutting speeds compared to some methods.

Next, we examine Cold Cutting, a technique that prioritizes safety and material integrity in environments where heat could be detrimental.

Cold Cutting

Cold cutting techniques avoid generating heat, making them suitable for volatile environments or materials that could be damaged by high temperatures.

  • Applications: Used in petrochemical industries and for materials sensitive to heat.
  • Pros: Reduces risk of fire and preserves the material’s structural integrity.
  • Cons: May not be as efficient for all materials and can require specialized equipment.

Finally, we explore Hot Wire Cutting, a method that elegantly demonstrates the application of heat in a controlled manner to slice through materials.

Hot Wire Cutting

Primarily used with foam and polystyrene, hot wire cutting involves heating a wire to melt through the material.

  • Applications: Perfect for sculpting and model making, providing clean cuts in foam and similar materials.
  • Pros: Precise control and smooth finishes, ideal for detailed work.
  • Cons: Limited to specific types of materials and requires caution due to the heated wire.

Laser Microjet Cutting (a hybrid of laser cutting and waterjet cutting)

Laser Microjet cutting stands out as a sophisticated hybrid technique that combines the precision of laser cutting with the cooling benefits of waterjet cutting. This method employs a high-pressure, thin water jet as a guide for the laser beam, enabling it to cut through materials with remarkable accuracy and minimal thermal distortion.

  • Applications: Ideal for intricate designs and delicate materials requiring precise cuts without heat damage.

Pros:

  • Reduced heat-affected zones
  • Ability to cut a wide range of materials
  • High precision and quality of cut

Cons:

  • Higher equipment and operating costs
  • Limited to thinner material thicknesses

Photochemical Machining (PCM)

Photochemical Machining, also known as photo etching, is a non-traditional metal cutting process that uses chemical etchants to remove material and create intricate designs.

PCM involves coating a metal sheet with a photoresist, exposing it to UV light through a photomask with the desired pattern, and then etching away the exposed areas with chemicals. This technique is favored for its ability to produce highly precise and complex parts without affecting the material’s properties.

  • Applications: Widely used in the electronics industry for producing components like circuit boards, precision encoders, and decorative items.

Pros:

  • Excellent for complex, intricate designs
  • No mechanical stress on the material
  • Suitable for a wide range of metals

Cons:

  • Limited to relatively thin materials
  • Chemical disposal and environmental concerns

Chemical Milling

Chemical milling, similar to PCM, involves the controlled removal of metal through chemical etching, but it is typically used for larger components and deeper cuts.

This process involves cleaning the material, masking areas that do not require etching, and then immersing it in a chemical bath to remove material.

It’s particularly useful for components where mechanical cutting methods would be impractical.

  • Applications: Aerospace and defense industries favor it for reducing the weight of aircraft components and parts.

Pros:

  • Allows for the removal of large amounts of material efficiently
  • Can produce complex shapes and deep cuts

Cons:

  • Precision is less than that of PCM
  • Environmental and safety concerns due to chemical usage

Laser Beam Machining (LBM)

Laser Beam Machining stands as a testament to the power of light, utilizing a concentrated laser beam to cut or engrave materials with unrivaled precision.

LBM employs high-powered lasers to focus a beam of light onto a small area of the material, causing it to melt, burn, vaporize, or be blown away by a jet of gas, leaving a high-quality surface finish.

  • Applications: Its versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of industries, including automotive, aerospace, and electronics, for cutting metals, plastics, and composites.

Pros:

  • High precision and control over the cutting process
  • Ability to cut complex shapes and small features
  • Minimal heat-affected zone

Cons:

  • High initial equipment cost
  • Limited to materials that can absorb the laser wavelength

Which is the most common industrial cutting technique?

Laser cutting is the most common industrial cutting technique used in the manufacturing industry. Esteemed for its precision, speed, and versatility, laser cutting accommodates a broad spectrum of materials, including metals, plastics, and composites.

Which is The Fastest and Most Accurate Industrial Cutting Technique?

Laser cutting is the fastest and most accurate industrial cutting technique, particularly for precise, intricate designs on metal and various other materials. The laser beam’s ability to focus to a pinpoint allows for unmatched precision, making it ideal for applications requiring detailed work and fine tolerances.

How to Choose the Right Industrial Cutting Technique for Your Project?

Selecting the appropriate cutting technique for your project is crucial for achieving optimal results. Here are six factors to consider, each accompanied by practical examples to illustrate their significance:

  1. Material Type and Thickness: The nature and thickness of the material are paramount. For instance, waterjet cutting is preferred for materials sensitive to heat, like certain plastics and metals, preventing thermal distortion. Conversely, plasma cutting is more suited for thicker metal sheets where its speed and efficiency shine.
  2. Cutting Precision Required: If your project demands high precision and intricate details, laser cutting is the go-to method. Its ability to produce precise cuts makes it ideal for intricate designs in the electronics industry, where components must fit together perfectly.
  3. Production Speed: For projects where speed is of the essence, plasma cutting offers a rapid solution, especially for cutting thicker materials efficiently, making it a staple in construction and industrial fabrication.
  4. Cost-Effectiveness: Budget constraints can influence the choice of cutting technique. Waterjet cutting, while versatile, can be more costly due to the wear on components and the need for abrasive materials. Laser cutting, on the other hand, might offer a more cost-effective solution for thinner materials.
  5. Surface Finish Quality: The desired finish quality can also dictate the cutting method. Laser cutting provides a high-quality finish with minimal need for post-processing, ideal for decorative or consumer-facing components.
  6. Environmental Considerations: The environmental impact of the cutting process might also be a factor. Waterjet cutting, for example, generates no harmful fumes and minimal waste, making it a more environmentally friendly option compared to methods that produce significant emissions or waste.

Conclusion

Choosing the right industrial cutting technique is a complex decision that requires a thorough understanding of the materials involved, the project requirements, and the unique advantages and limitations of each cutting method.

Whether it’s the versatility of waterjet cutting, the precision of laser cutting, or the efficiency of plasma cutting, each method has its place in the manufacturing industry.

By carefully considering factors such as material type, desired precision, and production speed, industry professionals can select the most suitable cutting process, ensuring optimal outcomes for their projects.

 

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