Steel mills provide the foundation for all steel processing industries. To begin with, ore and raw iron is melted, continuously casting plant and then rolled to the required thickness. Steel service centers or job shops offer further processing of coils, profiles and sheets made of various steel types and steel qualities. The profiles are cut from steel plates and coils and prepared for a wide range of industrial customers.
Welding and joining are the backbone of the manufacturing industry. Therefore cutters, solderers, brazers, and welders get trained to work with different materials and joining technologies. In addition, they also learn how to use different cutting technologies. In vocational colleges and other educational and training centers various products, processes and methods are presented and taught. For this purpose, the cutting solutions have to be easy to handle for different operators.
Small metal-working shops and fabricators, as well as locksmiths, tinsmiths, car garages and plumbers produce frameworks, railings, stairs, gates, chimneys, fluid tanks and other simple products. To do so, they often must cut steel or ferrous sheets, bars and profiles and need robust and reliable cutting tools. Productivity is not the main reason for choosing a technology because in many cases the same cuts are done manually one time or only a few times.
Cutting technologies in automobile manufacturing and transportation must fulfill the highest requirements. When cutting metal sheets and other materials for the automotive industry the focus is on safety, precision, appearance, and economic efficiency. Thick plates are cut for chassis frames, thin sheets and aluminum for lightweight construction body parts, and high-strength, distortion-free steel for passenger compartments. Plasma, laser and oxy-fuel cutting solutions offer vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers powerful technologies for manual and mechanized cutting processes.
With regard to general fabrication, cutting technology is needed for cutting and shaping steel or ferrous metals like medium thick mild steel profiles, plates and tubes. The material is used to manufacture both heavy and light structures and different products. They range from complex equipment for process industries and mining down to simple products like storage tanks, conveyors, frames, or production components. High productivity and maximum uptime are very important for the companies, as they often operate in highly competitive markets.
In the shipbuilding and offshore industry, wind and weather have a considerable influence on all stages of the manufacturing processes. These include very large and complex structures and the cutting of thick plates of different materials. With a focus on robustness of the technology and productivity of the process, the highest requirements are placed on the cutting solutions. Different approval requirements have to be fulfilled by major global shipyards, offshore fabricators, smaller specialist shipyards and boat builders. To save time, energy and money, large segments have to be precisely cut so that they can be welded without any or with only minor reworking.
Cutting parts in construction engineering for example for bridges, stadiums, airports and process plants, or buildings usually means working either in huge prefabrication halls or on the construction site. Due to big parts and needed long cuts, lightweight, robust and easy to handle cutting equipment is important. The powerful cutting solutions must realize a very high productivity, whereas the appearance of the cut is often not that important. The most important cutting processes for medium thick mild steel profiles, plates and tubes are plasma cutting and oxy-fuel cutting.
Heavy fabrication means continuous and large-scale production of large or heavy sections. Components for heavy machinery and yellow goods like for agriculture, road construction or mining are usually made of particularly robust medium or thick and wear-resistant plates of both mild- and low-alloy metal. Therefore, powerful, and precise working cutting solutions, that realize a maximum uptime and a repeatable cut quality are needed. For lightweight constructions like mobile cranes, it is important to find cutting solutions suitable for special materials with high yield strength. With regards to the needed high volumes, the energy consumption and the cost for consumables are important factors, too.
Installations for the energy industry and apparatus construction are very versatile – reaching from simple pipelines and tanks to energy infrastructure, complex windmills and turbines, solar collectors, and incineration plants. Yet they all require very safe production processes and must be very robust. To manufacture them safely and conforming to standards, thick plates and thin sheets made of steel or special materials must be cut very accurately.