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ESAB's experience with oxy-fuel cutting dates back to 1907.
More than just an interesting discussion, studying the fire triangle helps understand how the oxy-fuel process works, which can aid in troubleshooting as well as proper operation. Studying examples of the fire triangle can also help machine operators and other factory workers recognize and avoid potential fire dangers and explosion hazards wherever they may exist.
Flame Cutting/Oxygen Burning requires some source of intense heat to get the plate hot enough to be cut/burned. This source of heat is referred to as the “preheat flame”. The whole plate does not need to be heated, not even the bottom, just that portion slightly ahead of the cutting reaction. There are some plate materials that must be “preheated” before cutting to keep them from cracking during cutting. Typically materials with Carbon Levels above .25% fall in this category. This is NOT the “preheat” we are discussing. Some of these materials require “preheating” up to 600 °F. There are also some materials that require “preheating” to achieve a quality cut.
The process often called Flame Cutting is known by many names, such as Oxy Acetylene Cutting, Oxy Fuel Gas Cutting, Oxygen Burning, Steel Burning and other terms too numerous to mention. The process is now about 111-112 years old as it was patented in 1901 by Thomas Fletcher. One of the first commercial applications was what the British referred to as “an unauthorized bank entry”, or a “safe cracking”.
Kerf is defined as the width of material that is removed by a cutting process. It was originally used to describe how much wood was removed by a saw, because the teeth on a saw are bent to the side, so that they remove more material than the width of the saw blade itself, preventing the blade from getting stuck in the wood.