At ARC Specialties, most of our robotic cutting systems are based on plasma. But plasma is limited on part thickness. My rule of thumb is you need 100 amps of power per inch of thickness. There are a few systems that can cut up to 4″, but in my opinion, 2″ is the practical limit for economical plasma cutting.
However, for steel parts, there is another way.
Oxy-Fuel cutting was developed in the 1800s, but it is still an essential industrial technology. It is limited to steel and occasionally titanium. The exothermic reaction of oxygen and the molten metal creates a heat source independent of the flame. This dramatically increases cut thickness capacity. I have cut up to 36″ steel to rough machining dimensions, and the books say that 60″ is possible. Plus, a cutting torch is less than $500, which is 1% of the cost of a large plasma cutting system.
Today we showcase a couple of robotic oxy-fuel projects. If you need to cut heavy steel or your budget won’t allow plasma, send us some test parts. We will determine if robotic oxy-fuel will solve your 3-dimensional cutting problem.
Sometimes if you combine old technology with state-of-the-art robotic motion control, you can do great things!