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Steel Cutting Blog

 

If you’re passionate about metal cutting or just keen to learn more, you’ve landed in the right place. 

 

For over 38 years, Amber Steel has been at the forefront of metal cutting services, specializing in laser cutting, flame cutting, and plasma cutting. Our expertise has carved a niche in this cutting-edge industry, delivering precision and excellence across industrial projects big and small. 

 

In our blog, we’ll share a mix of useful tips, innovative applications, our thoughts on sustainability in steel cutting, and more. Expect stories from the cutting floor, insights into how our processes can streamline projects across industries, and a few lessons we’ve learned along the way. 

 

While we keep some of our trade secrets under wraps, this blog is designed to offer valuable nuggets of wisdom that you simply won't find anywhere else. Whether you’re a professional in the industry or someone fascinated by the possibilities of metal cutting, you'll find something of value here. 

 

So, stick with us as we delve into the finer points of metal work. We’re glad to share our insights and lead discussions that matter to our industry. 

 

VIEW RECENT BLOGS

 

New to Steel Cutting? Start with the Basics 

 

Explore our Steel Cutting Blog by Topic 

 

Aerospace 

How precision metal cutting propels the aerospace industry, from constructing lighter frames to enhancing aerodynamics. 

 

Automotive 

The role of advanced metal cutting in automotive manufacturing, driving innovations in vehicle design and efficiency. 

 

Flame Cutting 

All about the robust and versatile process of flame cutting, ideal for tackling thicker metals with precision and ease. 

 

Furniture 

Discover the art of crafting metal furniture, where cutting techniques meet design to create both functional and aesthetic pieces. 

 

How It Works 

A behind-the-scenes look at the mechanics of metal cutting technologies and the science that makes them tick. 

 

Laser Cutting 

Laser cutting is where extreme precision meets efficiency, allowing for intricate designs and clean finishes. 

 

Medical Devices 

The critical role of precise steel cutting in developing reliable and intricate medical devices. 

 

Oil and Gas 

How steel cutting supports the oil and gas industry with components that withstand extreme environments and pressures. 

 

Plasma Cutting 

Known for its speed and versatility, plasma cutting slices through conductive metals with hot plasma. 

 

Safety 

Safety first! Tips and insights on maintaining a safe environment while handling powerful metal cutting equipment. 

 

Structural Steel Fabrication 

The backbone of construction, where steel fabrication and cutting technologies create frameworks that shape skylines. 

 

Sustainability 

A look at sustainability in metal cutting, focusing on practices that reduce waste and conserve energy to protect our planet. 

 

Plasma Cutting Software: Enhancing Efficiency and Automation

Plasma cutting machine at Amber Steel.

 

There’s a difference between getting the job done and getting the job done right. No more is this reality clearer than with metal fabrication or steel cutting. 

 

Plasma cutting is widely used for metal fabrication or steel-cutting needs across many sectors.  

 

As a metal-cutting method, plasma is inherently efficient and cost-effective, providing quick cuts through thick metals and prepping them for further refinement and processing. 

 

However, integrating technology can double — if not triple or quadruple — down on speed and efficiency.  

 

The goal in our world, of course, is to cut quickly and accurately. That rings true, no matter the kind of cutting. 

 

You must meet specifications and tolerances rapidly to guarantee the most value per job. Undoubtedly, it begins with high-quality machinery and equipment to perform the best possible plasma cuts. Once you know the equipment is up to the challenge, implementing the right software further improves efficiency, reducing the potential flab from your processes and optimizing productivity. 

 

In this post, we’ll explore the nature and benefits of plasma cutting software, delving into leveraging specific tools to fine-tune your cutting processes and techniques.  

 

Amber Steel has three specialties: Plasma, laser, and flame cutting. Regardless of the metal you need cut, we’ll have a solution, and our state-of-the-art technology ensures we’ll always have alternatives to meet your specifications and tolerances.  

 

No matter your needs, we’ll apply the most beneficial solution based on scale, scope, materials, budget, and all other factors to weigh before moving forward.  

 

Reach out to Amber Steel today if you have any questions about steel cutting. We’d also love to provide helpful insights if you have a project in mind, and we look forward to hearing from you! 

 

 

What Is Plasma Cutting? 

Plasma cutting utilizes an accelerated hot plasma stream to cleave its way through material conducive to electricity. 

 

Plasma cutting machine cutting metal at Amber Steel plant.

 

With efficiency and versatility as its primary benefits, plasma cutting is suitable for cutting stainless steel, steel, aluminum, and other electricity-conducting metals.  

 

Plasma cutting has a straightforward mechanism, initiating a gas-carrying electrical arc that travels through a slim opening. The gas in question might be oxygen, nitrogen, compressed air, argon, etc.  

 

Once the gas rises to an extreme temperature, it ionizes, forming into plasma, a carrier of free-flowing electrons and ions generated when energy is added to a gas. From there, a few electrons are squeezed from their atoms.  

 

Eventually, the plasma temperature reaches (up to) thousands of degrees Fahrenheit, melting the metal when it touches the stream. The pressurized force of the gas stream releases molten metal, yielding precise cuts.  

 

Speed and adaptability are two primary benefits of plasma cutting, specifically when applied to more robust materials. Thus, it’s often utilized in industrial applications.  

 

It’s crucial to point out plasma cutting’s primary weakness — although calling it a weakness is a bit of an overstatement.  

 

Plasma cutting busts through the big stuff. It’s a bulldozer. Yes, for what it’s set to do — apply blunt-force power — plasma cutting has impressive precision.  

 

However, something like laser cutting (which we also provide at Amber) is better for more delicate materials due to its more refined precision and soft touch.  

 

 

Use Cases For Plasma Cutting 

Software is one component of making things more efficient. It promises to help reduce human error, increase productivity, and get the most out of your plasma cutting processes. 

 

What software can’t do is cover up knowledge gaps when you lack a sound grasp of how and when to utilize plasma cutting as a steel-cutting technique. 

 

Expertise in plasma cutting is a must. Understanding where the application guarantees the most value is your first and foremost priority. Once you have that knowledge, you can apply the technology and hone and refine it to previously inconceivable levels. 

 

With the above preamble in mind, here are some use cases for plasma cutting: 

 

Construction Component Manufacturing 

Often, construction companies require materials like steel beams to be cut into precise lengths. Various notches and holes are also typically included.  

 

Steel beams possess a density that jives well with plasma cutting.  

 

This then begs the question—does plasma cutting provide enough precision for construction components like beams? Or would something like laser cutting be more effective? 

 

Construction components have comparatively less stringent tolerances, so plasma cutting can be performed without its lesser precision being a problem.  

 

The product’s finish isn’t a top priority in construction, making the cost-effectiveness of plasma cutting an even more favourable option than laser cutting. 

 

Heavy Equipment Part Fabrication 

Suppose your company manufactures aerospace parts or automotive parts. Your equipment must be highly durable, holding firm against demanding wear and stress. 

 

The thick metals synonymous with heavy equipment will require plasma cutting.  

 

While plasma has a significantly high heat-affected zone, it’s not a concern since its focus isn’t precision. It’s durability.  

 

Compared to — let’s say — laser cutting, plasma cutting is far more cost-effective, offering optimal value and savings for high-volume projects. 

  

While the cuts won’t be refined, follow-up machining can quickly fine-tune plasma-cut heavy equipment to the chosen specifications.  

 

When Should You NOT Apply Plasma Cutting? 

Plasma cutting isn’t suitable for all steel-cutting or metal fabrication purposes.  

 

You could have top, cutting-edge plasma cutting software. It won’t help or streamline anything if plasma cutting isn’t the right choice for the work. 

 

One such instance is during automotive part production. Often, companies in the sector require detailed flat metal parts for bodywork. Here, exactness and uniformity are all non-negotiable musts.  

 

These are thinner pieces of metal calling for the utmost precision. Plasma cutting doesn’t have a place here. Another technique, like laser cutting, is far more suited to this task because it can adhere to the intensive tolerances of automotive components.  

 

Another example is energy sector companies building solar panel frames that require precisely cut metal plates. These must have clean appearances and exact cuts to be aesthetically pleasing and optimally functional.  

 

Now, plasma cutting might seem like a good fit because you’d be dealing with aluminum with mid-range thickness. Unfortunately, the high precision demanded from such a project moves plasma cutting out of contention, calling for something more refined like laser cutting.  

 

 

Implementing the Best Software 

Knowing what projects benefit the most from plasma cutting means you can start thinking of the type of technology that’ll help enhance efficiency, accuracy, and precision. 

 

CNC Plasma Cutter 

Understanding software’s relationship with plasma cutting begins with knowledge of the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) plasma system. With this technology, technicians use computers to direct the machine's motion, which follows numerical codes. 

 

The following types of software integrate with CNC plasma cutting machines: 

 

  • CAD (ART). 

  • CAM. 

  • CNC machine control.  

 

We’ll explore these software types below: 

 

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) Software 

With CAD software, you can draw an approximation of the artwork you’re having cut, such as a product image or a sketch of a manufacturing part. CAM software refines instructions from the CAD software.  

 

Users put the .dxf file developed in the CAD into the CAM software program, providing directions on thickness, length, material type, and where to stop/start the cuts.  

 

This software incorporates all material and cutting parameters, including cut speed and height, piercing height, and more.  

 

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machine Software 

After you’ve exported the part to the CAM and created the tool path, it’s exported as G-code, a machine language converting job info into data for the machine to digest. From there, it begins to make cuts. 

 

The G-code instructs the steppers on how fast and where to go, driving the cutting machine’s performance. Directions are also given on when to fire and when to pierce and cut, the number of amps used, and how long it will keep operating before being shut off.  

 

The entire process, which occurs almost simultaneously, relies on the G-code.  

 

It’s important to note how your CNC machine must be compatible with the G-code.  

 

 

Investing in an Industry-Leading Plasma Cutting Service 

All the meticulous strategizing in the world can be undone by working with inferior equipment and dated technology.  

 

Amber Steel’s plasma cutting machine is industry-leading, leveraging top-tier software. It’s an intricate, highly sophisticated piece of equipment that makes precise, efficient cuts through material conducive to electricity.  

 

Our machine, powered by our investment in technology, meets exacting customer specifications with impressively prompt turnaround times.  

 

 

Final Thoughts 

Success with plasma cutting rests on knowing when and how to implement the technique and combining it with state-of-the-art technological features to streamline your processes.  

 

When you need this type of work done, Amber is your number-one metal fabrication partner.  

 

Amber Steel’s expertise and specialization in plasma, laser, and flame cutting make us a “total source” service in producing high-quality steel products. We combine the correct production technique with the product that makes sense based on factors like materials, tolerances, and specifications. We also add game-changing technology to ensure the work is completed in the most optimized fashion. 

 

Send us a message or call us today if you have further inquiries about metal fabrication or are about to embark on a project and want an expert’s insights.  

 

 

 

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