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Industrial Cutting With Diamond Wire

Fine cutting of heavy metals is not easy. There has been a considerable amount of research on cutting tools. Every year, new innovations are introduced by different companies in their catalogs about techniques of industrial cutting. Laser cutting, which incorporates electromagnetic beams to generate heat, is very common and widely preferred these days.

One of the most common ways of cutting heavy metals is by the use of metal wire. A powered wire saw is used, which incorporate thick wires or cables for cutting on large scale. Wire saw machines are of two types, i.e. oscillating and continuous.

The use of wire saw is similar to that of an abrasion to saw teeth. Due to heavy load of application, diamond is widely used as an abrasive for industrial cutting. There are different varieties of wires, which are used for varying properties and thickness of metallic sheets. Diamond wire cutting was introduced in 1980s. Since then, this technique has been widely used for various decontamination and decommissioning projects. It has also been widely used for cutting large reinforced concrete structures.

Diamond Wire Cutting

In this process, wire or cable used in wire saw is coated with diamond dust. This dust varies in size according to different diameters and lengths of cables. Diamond is the purest form of carbon, the hardest stone ever known to mankind. With its sheer hardness, diamond wire cutting technique can pierce through any kind of material which is not harder than diamond dust or diamond abrasive. Many people think that diamond wire cutting technique is expensive because it incorporates large-scale use of diamonds. In reality, DWC is not only practical, it is far less expensive than other techniques. A thin wire impregnated with diamond dust cost 20 percent per foot in 2005 for manufacturing. On the other hand, solid diamond with sharp blade cutters costs thousands of dollars. Market demand and wire grade largely influences cable price as well. Many cables are shaped in diamond rings which are threaded through out the cable. It can easily cut large blocks of concrete with heavy steel reinforcement.

While cutting with diamond wire saw, main wheel is driven with hydraulic motor. Once the wheels are set in motion, diamond wire moves in a steady pull manner along the defined cut path. Diamond beads produce friction, which cuts material slowly and steadily. Various options are available for diamond wire saws like topside remote control, driver control and zero leak hot slabs.
These days, underwater cutting wires have also been introduced to cut different types of pipelines and structures horizontally or vertically. In underwater saws, compressive forces are eliminated via diamond beads, that is not possible with conventional saws.

They are used on a large scale in mining industries to cut large pieces of rocks. In diamond, marble and coal mines, usually large pieces are cut, which are further refined in laboratories once they are shipped to nearby processing plants. In mining industry, thick cables with diamond beads impregnated attached with large sawing machines are used.

Advantages

Industrial Cutting with diamond wire has many advantages. It is not only cheaper than solid metal blades, it also leaves less wasted material and kerf. On large scale industrial cutting, especially of relatively expensive metals, thousands of dollars can be saved by saving waste material. In diamond wire cutting, cheap fluid and water is used to cool the cut, remove waste or debris and lubricate the saw. Sometimes, a clean dry cut can also be achieved without the need of cutting fluid or water.

Industrial cutting done via diamond wire takes into consideration the importance of surface quality. It is highly critical especially in photovoltaic and semiconductor industries. In construction industry, surface quality of stones and concrete is achieved by diamond wire cutting. Surface roughness on a cut surface is developed via diamond industrial cutting. Process parameters largely influence surface quality, like feed rate, wire tension and wire speed.

Different thicknesses of wires are used for different industry types.

Simplest wire type is used for climbing and hunting. For cutting large constructions and thick walls, continuous wires are commonly used. Silicon wafers are cut in photovoltaic and semiconductor industry by continuous diamond dust wires.

Drawbacks

Diamond Wire
"2004_0609_092801" (CC BY 2.0) by stalinvlad

It can be very dangerous with diamond wire cutting because if the wire breaks, it whips. As the whole technique is less robust, there is a problem of constant snapping because of fatigue and tangling. Moreover, the wire can be used only for two or three times because worn out abrasive makes it weary and difficult to cut.

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Cutting Machines

While working in an industrial environment, one that deals with cutting of heavy metals and concrete, it is very important to take precautionary measures as cutting of metals produces sparks which can permanently damage human body parts. These days, due to rapid innovations done in the field in industrial design, various kinds of cutting machines have been introduced. With the help of these machines, any worker can cut thick sheets of metal with precision, neatness and without any worry of danger.

There are various forms of cutting machines that incorporate different technologies.

Plasma Cutters

Plasma Cutter
"plasma cutter" (CC BY 2.0) by DanielBL

All those materials, which can be measured with a measuring tape, can be cut through plasma cutters. However, vernier measuring materials should be dealt with laser cutters only. Plasma cutters are as good and efficient as laser cutters, but the accuracy is more precise in case of laser cutting. Portable plasma cutters are mostly preferred by craftsmen because of high cutting capacity and speed. Another advantage of portable plasma cutters is that it can be used for small scale workshop based cuttings as well. Various range of plasma cutters include a 30A system with 500i spectrum and a 40A system with 700i system.

They are mostly used for fabrication of metal sheets, maintenance and engineering. When cutting different pieces of metal together, pilot arc is automatically controlled with the help of Auto-Refire technology. By using plasma cutters, one can achieve high acceleration and command on motion control algorithms.

These days, many latest models of plasma cutters come with diagnostic screens, which help a lot in determining right pressure, flow level and voltage.

Laser Cutters

Laser cutting machines no doubt are ahead of all others, because they are effective, efficient, and the end result is precise and accurate. Plasma cutters are no doubt very popular among welders and trades-person, still there are limitations to it which can only be dealt with laser cutting. For example, a fully detailed saw blade can only be cut through laser cutting technology. There are various types of laser cutters that incorporate different techniques. However, two most commonly preferred laser cutters are CO2 cutters and fibre glass cutters.

CO2 Cutters

CO2 Cutter
"CO2 Cutter Engraving Wood" (CC BY 2.0) by Craighton Miller

CO2 laser cutters are designed to cut thick sheets of mild steel with minimum amount of energy. They are highly preferred in various industries because using these cutters saves thousands of dollars on operating costs. It also reduces metal waste, which dramatically increases overall output. They are mostly incorporated in industries that deal with textiles, farming, transportation, steel services, scraping and automotive.
Known as ‘Fast Lasers’, it dramatically improves cutting speed, cut quality range and plate capacity. It provides gas flow at the targeted cutting zone, with optimum pressure, which provides improved accuracy.

Fibre Glass Cutters

These lasers are available in twelve different series and work on the principle of wavelength. Any wavelength, having the range of 1µm, can be easily absorbed in different metals and nonmetals. Compact fibre glass laser cutters have fibre optics capacity of 20µm (single-mode) and 50µm (multi-mode), which are readily used to cut solid-state materials as an alternative solution.