Angle processing, as defined in the context of metal fabrication technology, is a process that uses plasma cutters to cut shapes into metals at different angles. It was first used in the 19th century for the production of table saws and other industrial tools. The same technology is also utilized by plasma cutters in plasma table drilling machines. However, the plasma table saw and angle processing has evolved into very different applications in welding and plasma gas fabrication, making it difficult to determine which is the first.
The plasma cutters are either direct conductors or non-direct conductors, depending on their composition. They use high-energy electric beams to create smooth, even cuts on metals. They operate at higher voltages than their cable counterparts and produce faster results. In plasma technology, a plasma torch is used in combination with a plasma cutter, resulting in the production of a cross-aligned cut. The plasma torch is activated through the application of electrical energy, which strikes a thin, high-energy beam that vaporizes the surrounding material.
Although plasma technology has evolved and increased in sophistication over the years, many plasma cutters and plasma table saws still utilize the original (and simpler) application method. These devices require continuous electrical flow and do not require any external power source. Instead, the operator has to maintain a steady-on temperature to keep the plasma cutter’s chamber from overheating and prematurely wearing away the edges of the metal sheets being cut. This is a lot of work for an operator without a lot of experience, but in the case of plasma, table saw applications, the fewer hands on the job usually translates to better accuracy and faster operation.
As compared to welding and plasma arc industry applications, angle processing is comparatively more expensive and is often done in a shop with less specialized equipment. This is because the plasma table saw only cuts straight on the surface of the material being cut and requires complete manual components to provide electrical power. Consequently, shop personnel must be skilled and trained in the operation of both the plasma cutter and table saw. For this reason, many shops have both units in the back-room or an area off the main production floor.
The final step in the angle processing operation is the polishing or finishing process. The goal of polishing in this instance is to create a flat and smooth surface finish that will best suit the part being cut. The process of polishing is done on either the plasma or table saw itself, depending upon the type of piece being cut. There are also cases where polishing is done externally on parts or in a vibration isolation machine. The final step in this process is to apply a clear coating to the final product after it has been buffed and touched up with an oxide-based finishing lacquer.
The difference between the two processes is that plasma technology produces a much higher accuracy result than a table saw angle processing. The plasma cutter also produces a much faster final result with less operator interference. While table saw processing may not be as fast as plasma, the consistency and level of precision are comparable to those used by other types of saws, such as diamond plates. Overall, this technique provides a durable, accurate finish on any type of metal.
This article was written by Tyler Duoos, Tyler is the owner of General Saw Company. General Saw Company takes pride in being a leader in sheet metal fabrication services to Central Florida and its surrounding areas. If you are looking for Tampa Metal fabricators to get the job done right the first time we got you covered!