Integrated Cutting-System Technology Highlights ESAB Offerings

Innovations include torch-height control, as well as hole-cutting and cycle control to eliminate wasted, unproductive motion and optimize repeatability.

CNC plasma cutting systems take center stage for ESAB Welding & Cutting Products in Booth N-6129.

Article From: 9/10/2012 Modern Machine Shop, from

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An ESAB plasma cutting system in action. The company has full CNC-controlled units with upgraded technology on display at IMTS.

CNC plasma cutting systems take center stage for ESAB Welding & Cutting Products in Booth N-6129. ESAB trumpets new technology integrated into the systems, including the company’s precision hole technology, as well as torch-height and cutting-cycle control. Because ESAB manufactures and integrates the entire cutting system, including gantry, plasma, CNC, height control, programming software and motion capability, the company is a one-stop shop that stands behind and supports the entire system, says Steve Zlotnicki, regional product line manager for cutting.

ESAB’s patented precision hole technology is an integrated set of systems that is said to improve hole-cutting cylindricity while delivering high-edge quality. According to the company, extensive testing has shown that pure oxygen is not the ideal shield gas for edge quality, so this new technology employs a mix of oxygen and nitrogen as the shield gas, and changes the shield gas between starting and cutting to minimize pierce spatter. The result is automatic production of bolt-ready holes.

ESAB’s Smart Voltage height control automatically corrects arc voltage as an electrode wears, with cutting height remaining constant even as arc length increases. This height-control technology is said to maintain cut quality. Also, unnecessary consumable changes are reduced because the torch stays at the correct height, and the electrode can fully wear without the torch cutting closer and closer to the plate. Overall cost-per-part is reduced by maximizing consumable life and reducing production interruptions.

SmartCycle technology eliminates unproductive time and motion by skipping initial height sensing where possible and eliminating the full torch retract after every cut, ESAB says. Thus, total time required to cut a parts nest can be reduced. In fact, depending on part geometry, the production rate can more than double when using SmartCycle technology versus traditional methods, the company adds. 

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