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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. 

 

Environmental Sustainability in Flame Cutting

Sustainable lightbulb icon "Environmental Sustainability in Flame Cutting - A Look at Modern Practices"

 

In 2023 alone, human activity caused a projected total of 36.8 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions due to fossil fuels.

 

The continuous growth of the world’s shared carbon footprint can be pegged to global population growth, a surge in energy demand, and skyrocketing demand/production of goods. 

 

Meeting these demands requires massive amounts of fossil fuel combustion. In fact, these factors have driven a 50% annual increase in greenhouse gas emissions over the past 30 years. 

 

Furthermore, deforestation costs the world ten million hectares of forest annually—also not a positive sign for the future. 

 

The stark reality is that our planet teeters on the edge of a 'danger zone,' detrimental to both humans and ecosystems. We have already surpassed 7/8ths of the scientific safety limits and are now in the final, critical stage. The time to act is now. 

 

We’ve started with these general environmental statistics to illustrate a point: 

 

Embracing improved sustainability practices and environmental preservation is not just about our products, services, brands, and bottom line. It's about shaping humanity's long-term future and determining where the world will be centuries, if not a millennium, from now. We, the industry leaders in steel fabrication and welding, have the power to make a positive change. 

 

That said, how do flame cutting and steel fabrication fit into sustainability? 

 

 

The Impact of Steel on the Environment 

Steel production produces around 7% of the world’s carbon dioxide. It's involved in a broader industrial sector that was responsible for 30% of the US’s greenhouse emissions in 2021.  

 

Manufacturing steel generates 1.83 tons of CO2 for each ton of steel made. Each year, steel production adds 3.3 million tons of global emissions. 

 

Unfortunately, steel manufacturing must always put some strain on the environment. Metals are robust materials that demand equally robust manufacturing, cutting, and fabrication processes. It takes a lot of energy and expands carbon footprints. 

 

Still, the pros of metals like steel vastly outweigh the cons. 

 

Civilizations as we know them would cease to exist without metals and the various processes involved in making and shaping them. 

 

We need steel for our buildings and aluminum for our cars. Modern aircraft require titanium, while electronics need copper. 

 

In other words, metals are here to say. They’re the literal backbone of our society and many of its infrastructures.  

 

It’s up to those in adjacent industries and disciplines, from flame cutters to welders, to keep honing their sustainability approaches and innovating ways to offset waste and carbon emissions as much as possible. 

 

It’s about striking a balance—combining function and efficiency with a firm eye on enhanced sustainability. 

 

 

Seeking Sustainability with Flame Cutting Processes 

Sustainability isn’t a reactive process. It’s proactive. 

 

Given the significant carbon and greenhouse emissions from steel manufacturing, businesses like ours can’t sit back and hope we’re practicing sustainability. 

 

With sustainability comes a pressing need to “get after it” and always sniff opportunities out. In flame-cutting, for instance, you must take every conceivable measure to limit the process's environmental damage. 

 

Sure, ‘limiting the damage’ doesn’t sound as emphatic as eliminating it altogether but consider the difference mitigating measures can make. If you cut down your emissions, and then your peers do the same, and their peers follow suit, the chain reaction could create a healthier world where everyone can live happily, and businesses can thrive freely. 

 

Let’s explore how we practice environmental sustainability with our flame cutting at Amber Steel. 

 

 

Our Commitment to Sustainable Practices 

We at Amber Steel view ourselves as expert flame cutters and tree huggers.

 

In all seriousness, sustainability has become an important part of how we do business, and related practices are prominently featured throughout our operations. Our approach to flame cutting is no different.  

 

Reduce Waste 

On average, a steel production plant produces 0.6 tons of waste for every ton of steel.  

 

As we speak, human-generated waste accumulates in frighteningly enormous amounts worldwide, negatively impacting multiple ecosystems. 

 

It’s our responsibility to uphold a standard and exude leadership in sustainability initiatives like limiting waste. 

 

Through responsible resource management that doesn’t allow for waste, we ensure every piece possible is maximized and utilized during the flame-cutting process.  

 

The above is a shining example of us proactively meeting sustainability head-on.  

 

Rather than tossing away components we don’t have an immediate use for, we consciously and purposefully seek ways to repurpose our materials. We’ll find somewhere for these materials to end up in a different project, adding further value to our clients, business, and the environment. 

 

Examine Flame Cutting from All Angles 

Think of all the mechanical components of flame cutting. Assess from all angles where you can be sustainable. What areas of the flame-cutting process are open to alterations or adjustments that can enhance sustainability? 

 

First and foremost, ask yourself how a flame cutter operates: With a type of fuel gas, whether propane, acetylene, or natural gas. 

 

Natural gas is considered a relatively clean burning fossil fuel compared to burning coal. Others point out that propane is better for the environment than natural gas.  

 

There will not be one correct answer here—you have a business model to prioritize. Budgets are also a factor. The scope of your projects might not allow you to choose an alternative fuel gas

 

Using alternative fuels to acetylene to reduce the environmental impacts of flame-cutting isn’t a straightforward proposition. You’ll have to learn new techniques and perhaps invest in new machinery to be compatible with alternative, greener choices.  

 

We must broach these topics when seeking sustainability in fire cutting, even as they may challenge our conventions and preconceived notions about the industry.  

 

Flame cutting machine cutting steel.

 

Consider Stripping Metals of Their Coating 

Metals often have coatings before they undergo flame cutting. These coatings can be oil, paint, or various other chemicals. Such substances prevent corrosion or rust in the base material once exposed to moisture or the atmosphere during cutting or fabrication.  

 

Stripping these coatings before flame-cutting (or welding) will prevent them from atomizing and becoming harmful fumes that pollute the air. 

 

These fumes contain heavy metals and toxic pollutants that can severely and adversely impact the environment.  

 

We suggest removing these coatings with specialized solvents that create chemical reactions and leave non-threatening chemicals behind.  

 

Technologically Is Your #1 Sustainability Ally 

It is crucial to note that our repurposing and waste-reduction methods aren’t ad hoc at Amber Steel.  

 

Yes, our general attitudes and mindset revolve around sustainability, whether planning or executing a flame-cutting project. So, we might seem like we can be sustainable on the spot, improvising without a defined systemic approach. 

 

However, our sustainability-first attitude at Amber exists because we’ve deeply ingrained it into our systems and mechanical operations via technological advancements and investments. 

 

Undoubtedly, our technology makes us more efficient in terms of our bottom line. Because of tech tools, we’re far more profitable as a company. 

 

As we know, though, sustainability is about more than turning a profit. Fortunately, our technology is also about more than turning a profit. Our innovative tools streamline all facets of our business, enabling us to maximize large material usage while mitigating waste. 

 

Technology and automation will be integral to sustainability moving forward.  

 

Economic demands will pull metal fabrication industry leaders in many directions, making it more challenging to focus on sustainability initiatives. Making time for green-friendly practices is impossible when your schedule won’t allow it. 

 

Automation technologies that remove time-sapping repetitive tasks and help orchestrate efficient workflows allow crucial decision-makers to focus on sustainability. With the optimal tech stack, you’ll never lose sight of what matters most: the environment. 

 

Maintain Your Equipment for Peak Efficiency 

Flame cutters are machines that require gas fuel to run and—much like a car—will dwindle in efficiency over time.  

 

Of course, you don’t want to cycle through a steady array of flame-cutting machines. However, you don’t want an inefficient cutter past its sell-by date and guzzling gas.  

 

The better you treat your machinery, the longer it’ll last, and the more efficiently it’ll burn through its fuel, proving better for the environment.  

 

Embrace Sustainability as a Business Tactic 

Many detractors will claim that working towards sustainability will not improve their bottom line, so why dedicate time and resources to it? 

 

To the above argument, we offer some food for thought—65% of survey respondents claim they want to purchase from brands that advocate sustainability. 

 

Society is becoming more sustainability-centric, and people are looking to businesses and industries to lead the charge. Consumers want to associate with brands that put the environment first, including steel manufacturing and fabrication companies. 

 

Furthermore, failing to do our part in protecting the environment means there won’t be an environment fit for our bottom line. We need to sustain what we have, so it remains here for our grandchildren’s children to run their steel manufacturing juggernaut enterprises. 

 

Do you want to discuss further sustainability practices in flame, laser, or plasma cutting? Do you have changes in mind that can positively affect metal manufacturing’s impact on the environment? If so, contact Amber Steel today—we look forward to hearing your insightful questions or game-changing ideas! 

 

 

 

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Plasma Cutting for Large-Scale Steel Fabrication

Plasma cutting machine cutting metal.

 

There's something truly captivating about large-scale steel fabrication.  

 

Whether it’s the sight of flames flying during the cutting or welding process or the spawning of awe-inspiring structures that shape entire civilizations, the sheer magnitude of large-scale steel fabrication in construction is unparalleled.  

 

Steel inspires us because of its strength, robustness, and seeming invincibility, especially when utilized at a large scale. It’s also our bread and butter as a business. 

 

We’re not talking about steel in a shelving cabinet unit. No, this is a discussion about steel at its most jaw-dropping enormity: heavy metal for heavy machinery, shipbuilding, bridges, and construction. 

 

In other words, big steel is a big deal. Large-scale steel fabrication is versatile and produces materials up to the task of making the world go round. 

 

At Amber Steel, we embrace and appreciate the value of large-scale steel fabrication, utilizing techniques such as plasma cutting for precise and powerful cuts. We integrate our skill, precision, and expertise for steel fabrication with cutting-edge technologies that streamline our processes and optimize results. 

 

From planning to executing a large-scale steel fabrication project, we apply our technical proficiency and vast industry knowledge to deliver results that exceed client expectations. 

 

Do you have a large-scale steel fabrication project in the works? Are you seeking a top industry technician with top-tier machinery and innovative technology who can cut, bend, and assemble on a grand scale while delivering optimal results? If so, contact Amber Steel today to discuss what our steel fabrication and cutting processes can do for your business. 

 

While we offer various techniques for steel fabrication and always have an alternative to meet your needs, we typically utilize plasma cutting for fabricating steel at a large scale.  

 

Below, we’ll delve further into large-scale steel fabrication and the role of plasma cutting in the process. 

 

 

A Deeper Dive into Large-Scale Steel Fabrication 

The heavy (or large-scale) steel fabrication process applies to industrial structure/component construction from raw materials.

 

We already mentioned the structures built with fabricated steel: bridges, heavy machinery, and sky-scraping structures. These human-made works make people feel small and their mouths agape. 

 

Projections show the steel fabrication industry growing from $22.36 billion in 2023 to $30.64 billion by 2030.  

 

The above statistic isn’t a brag or boast. It’s to highlight the ubiquity and necessity of large-scale steel fabrication. Steel is everywhere—it provides stability and is the foundation for almost all industries and ways of life. 

 

Consider the financial implications of projects that utilize large-scale steel fabrication. The average modern cruise ship, for example, can cost a mind-boggling $900 million, while a high-rise office can cost up to $1,000 per square foot. These figures emphasize the need for quality tools and experts to ensure the success and profitability of such ventures. 

 

Furthermore, heavy steel fabrication is a staple of automotive and aerospace, both high-worth industries involving projects with immense financial stakes. 

 

The materials used in large-scale steel fabrication reflect that massive scale, as do the final products and associated prices. 

 

Thus, project leaders need to invest in the best tools available and ensure the top experts in the field use them. This way, the ends will justify the means, and all upfront spending will pay off. 

 

It’s then worth asking: What are the best types of tools or machinery for large-scale steel fabrication? Several will be required, but our plasma cutter is Amber Steel's most integral tool for these projects. 

 

 

Why Choose Plasma Cutting for Large-Scale Steel Fabrication? 

Cutting is one of the first components of steel fabrication, occurring before forming, drilling/punching, welding, and blasting/painting. 

 

Steel must first be cut to form its desired shape. 

 

Many cutting processes exist, and Amber offers several of them, including laser cutting and flame cutting

 

However, plasma cutting proves itself time and again the far superior choice for large-scale steel fabrication projects. 

 

Specifically, plasma is the cutting method that is most efficient at handling thicker materials.  

 

The electrically charged air in plasma cutting makes it ideal for processing nonferrous and ferrous materials. Alternatively, flame cutting can only cut ferrous materials. 

 

Furthermore, plasma cutting works faster than oxyfuel with its cutting speed. Plus, its kerf is more precise and smaller than flame cutting. 

 

Plasma cutting flourishes when processing high-thickness plates (e.g., approximately 2 inches or 50 mm thick). It can even succeed in handling 150 mm (6 inches) thick materials. Thus, it’s ideal for heavy, large-scale steel fabrication. 

 

At the end of the day, our reasoning is simple: We opt for plasma cutting for large-scale steel fabrication because it’s most suited to the type of work required, offering optimal cuts in these scenarios. 

 

 

How Amber Approaches Plasma Cutting for Large-Scale Steel Fabrication Projects 

We’ll note that—within reason—Amber is precisely what our clients need us to be. Thus, our services will shape and mould whatever your project and desired outcomes demand. 

 

Still, we can give you a general idea of what to expect when you hire us for a large-scale steel fabrication project. 

 

Read on as we break down some typical elements of the large-scale steel fabrication process with Amber. 

 

Tool blueprints with caliper, pencils, and sharpener on paper.

 

The Project Planning Stage 

Rigorous planning is the cornerstone of any successful large-scale steel fabrication project. 

 

At Amber, we excel and relish the planning stage because it allows us to familiarize ourselves with customers and their project specs. We combine our philosophies with our client's needs and help create budgets, schedules, and a final product blueprint. 

 

Our detailed planning process ensures we finish projects on budget and on time.  

 

To the above point, punctuality is one of our core tenets at Amber Steel.  

 

Our passion and dedication to delivering on time reflect our desire and commitment to helping you succeed. We will work tirelessly during the planning stage to ensure we meet deadlines which are non-negotiable for us. 

 

Still, even the best-laid plans can fall victim to unforeseen circumstances.  

 

As such, we build our plans with flexibility and adaptability in mind. We prepare in advance with the idea that your needs will evolve. We have processes in place to ensure we adjust seamlessly, continuing to shape our solutions to your objectives. 

 

We consider all large-scale steel fabrication processes as we plan your project. Say you’re building a bridge, for instance. We’ll consider the types of vehicles going over the bridge, factoring their weight into the materials we select for the project. 

 

Aligning Our Services with Your Requirements 

The most precise, beautifully cut piece of steel means very little if the client doesn’t want it. 

 

Thus, Amber prioritizes familiarizing ourselves with your large-scale steel fabrication requirements before we plasma-cut a single material.  

 

Here are some of the requirements we refer to: 

 

  • The structure’s purposes. 

  • It’s load-bearing capacity. 

  • Environmental conditions 

 

When we understand your needs, we can deliver the structures and final product that meets and exceeds expectations. 

 

Our team of top-tier professionals might be proficient at plasma cutting. However, they’re equally skillful as communicators and utilize these skills with our clients. 

 

We’ll share our developed designs with you for approval. This way, you can give us feedback, which we’ll enthusiastically receive during each stage of your large-scale steel fabrication project. 

 

Taking An Honest Look at Ourselves in the Mirror 

Large-scale steel fabrication is an intensive process saved for projects that often feature high difficulty.  

 

Often, companies in our sector will perform a SWOT analysis to assess whether they can give prospective clients what they need for their projects. Specifically, these are the questions asked: 

 

  • Do we have the resources available to finish the project? 

  • Does our expertise and experience align with what’s needed to fabricate the structure in question? 

  • Where are our core competencies? 

  • How do our current finances line up with the needs of a fabrication project? 

 

There’s rarely a project we won’t take on. Nevertheless, transparency with clients is vital to us at Amber. We want to be honest through all project facets, which means asking ourselves if we’re up to the challenge and giving clients a straightforward answer. 

 

Suppose we find a gap or a weakness that may prevent us from working on a large-scale project. We'll investigate solutions and ways to bridge the gap, typically leading to top-tier work and happy clients. 

 

 

At Amber, Steel Is Our Bread and Butter 

Do you have a large-scale steel fabrication project in your sights? 

 

Given the financial investment it requires, such work has a slim margin for error. You owe it to yourself and your fellow colleagues, partners, or investors to only work with the industry's best fabricators. 

 

Speaking of the industry’s best large-scale steel fabricators, Amber Steel provides plasma-cutting services for heavy-duty projects that demand a sure hand.  

 

We work with other materials, but steel is our bread and butter. Our work is highly efficient, rigorously planned, exactly precise, and guided by cutting-edge technology to ensure optimal results.  

 

Amber Steel has spent years differentiating itself with top-quality products and competitive pricing. 

 

Contact Amber today to learn about the game-changing difference our plasma-cutting services can make for your large-scale steel fabrication project. 

 

 

 

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