The steel industry depends on a complex fabrication and production process that aims to create the best possible materials for a variety of unique applications. No matter the purpose, structural steel fabrication is closely linked with metal cutting methods to produce clean, precise cuts that work to help perfect the project outcome. Contractors and project managers that are in need of experienced structural steel fabricators in Michigan will have their expectations met in full when they hire on Sanilac Steel. Since 1967, our team has worked diligently to design, fabricate, and install steel in a number of different applications with an approach that focuses on safety and quality. Today, we’ll look at a few more steel cutting methods that may be valuable when it comes to completing your project on time and under budget. When you’re ready to reach out to one of the top steel fabrication companies in the state, be sure to contact Sanilac Steel for assistance!

Abrasive Jet

Combining a simple concept with modern technology can prove to be a very worthy investment. Originally introduced in the 1930s, this gear has been honed to become a very effective tool in multiple industries. A water jet cutter utilizes water at an incredibly high pressure to cut a large variety of materials. This approach is ideal for cutting softer materials such as rubber. When abrasive additives are added to this high-pressure stream, however, the result is a tool that can slice up many hard materials, including steel and granite. Many professionals utilize water jet technology in conjunction with components that are too sensitive to the heat produced by most cutting methods for metal. The science behind this functional tool creates minimal distortion and has proven itself to be handy for nearly every application imaginable.

If one technique for cutting steel really had all of the answers, there would be no need for any other styles. Unfortunately, water jet cutting does have its drawbacks. The price tag, for one, may add up to be enough to make any contractor balk. Other issues stem from the moisture itself. For one, containing all of the H2O that you are using with high pressure can create a logistical challenge for your project. Many sites are prone to moisture issues if excess water is present, and water cutting does not help the situation any. The precision of water can also be a challenge, as water cannot be honed and controlled as neatly as a laser. Those who make use of this tool can expect a wider width in their cuts. Another concern stems from the sustainability surrounding our metal materials. Water can prove to be a very abrasive substance, wearing down the materials and removing them with H2O. When all’s said and done, you have a cut that does not produce recyclable components.

Plasma Arc Cutting

The process of plasma cutting utilizes science and technology to perform precision cuts that work effectively on electrically conductive metal materials. One interesting note that many people do not think about is what plasma actually is. It can be best to think of this material as a fourth material, beyond liquids, solids, and gases. By heating steam enough, you can ionize the material to make it electrically conductive. This new material is what professionals utilize for steel cutting.

Plasma arc cutting (PAC) separates metals be focusing on one area with an electric arc that works to effectively melt the material with a heat around 30,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The molten metal being hit by the electrode is removed via a fast-moving stream of hot gas. PAC is a handy technique for precision cutting needs and is much more efficient when compared to oxy-fuel cutting on materials that are no thicker than three inches. The technology and precision with plasma arc cutting makes this technique a popular option for a wide range of applications, minimizing operation costs in the process. Sanilac Steel is here to maximize your project efficiency, offering structural steel services to minimize the overall cost!

Laser Beam Cutting

For a more futuristic approach, steel fabrication companies can turn to laser beam cutting (LBC). This cutting style works by projecting a high-power laser that is controlled by several components to regulate the intensity and depth of the projection. A high-pressure gas is often used with the laser as an effective method of removing melted materials and fragments throughout the cutting process, clearing away contaminants to create a top-notch finished edge. LBC is effective for creating cuts in a very quick, clean, and efficient manner. The kerf created by this approach can be incredibly narrow, down to as small as a tenth of a millimeter!

While an amazing method for cutting, the overall cost and complexity of laser beam cutting may not equate to it being the best approach for your project. Essentially, the maintenance and upkeep associated with laser cutting can create a logistical challenge for many companies. Utilizing a team of professionals to cut with this technology is your best approach for minimizing unforeseen surprises. If it is a feasible option, though, LBC can prove to be a very effective method for making quick, clean cuts.

When it comes to cutting steel, industry professionals have a wide variety of tools at their disposal. Each option provides its own unique set of positives and negatives, requiring experience and training to ensure the best outcome. Sanilac Steel is proud to be a group of highly experienced structural steel fabricators for Michigan projects. From structural steel design to fabrication and installation, our experts are here to get your job done with accuracy and efficiency. Contact us today to get started!