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.


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CNC plasma cutting systems take center stage for ESAB Welding & Cutting Products, Florence, SC. At 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, according to Steve Zlotnicki, regional product line manager for cutting. Because ESAB manufactures and integrates the entire cutting system, says Zlotnicki, 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.

ESAB’s patented precision hole technology is an integrated set of systems that improve hole-cutting cylindricity while delivering high edge quality, according to company officials. They note that 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 reportedly maintains 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, claim ESAB officials, by skipping initial height sensing where possible, and eliminating the full torch retract after every cut. Thus, total time required to cut a parts nest can be reduced. In fact, depending on part geometry, the production rate reportedly can more than double when using SmartCycle technology versus traditional methods.