Industrial metallurgy is a critical component of product manufacturing as we know it. Sometimes the metal required must be especially thick and durable. While this heavy plate is a necessary component of heavy-duty equipment or projects, it cannot be cut and shaped with traditional means. Plasma steel cutting provides the necessary power to work with heavy steel plate.
What Is Heavy Steel Plate?
If steel plate material is three or more inches thick, it qualifies as heavy plate. The thicker plate material is a good solution for sectors which require the steel to withstand more significant force. These may include automotive, mining, and energy plants, but particularly heavy-duty applications like infrastructure development and building construction equipment are most common.
Heavy steel plate is usually made of alloys that magnify the material’s strength and hardness properties. There is a wide variety of grades, but these are the ones we cover at Norfolk Iron & Metal:
- Abrasion resistant Hardox 450 and 500 wear plate—These are ideal for dump trucks, heavy duty containers, and excavator buckets. Smaller pieces like sprockets, gears, and cutting edges also apply.
- High strength Strenx 100—This grade is perfect for structural and heavy load-bearing applications.
- Weathering A588—This durable grade requires minimal maintenance as a stable, protective layer of rust forms around it. This grade of heavy steel plate was most recently used as fencing between the Spokane River and the Spokane Convention Center.
In addition to our heavier steel plate, we also stock steel and aluminum floor plate between 1/16″ and 1/2″ thick, stainless plate up to 1/2″ thick, and aluminum plate up to 1″ thick.
Plasma Steel Cutting
When heavy steel plate is used, traditional means of cutting do not always make the cut. At Norfolk Iron & Metal, we utilize plasma steel cutting methods to garner the shapes our customers are looking for. This method is highly efficient and becoming more pervasively used across the industry because it can deliver quality results in a fraction of the time and at relatively low cost.
What Is Plasma Steel Cutting?
The plasma cutting method uses heat generated from a high-temperature plasma electric arc to slice through steel. Using an accelerated stream of hot plasma, fabricators can use electrically conductive materials to cut heavy plate. The process evolved in the 1960s from the basis of plasma welding and is quickly becoming a quick and more cost-effective means of cutting heavy steel plate. It involves melding steel through high-energy fusion and evaporation, and when the pieces are effectively joined, plasma power erases the evidence of fusion.
How Does It Work?
The basic mechanics of plasma steel cutting utilize an electrical channel of superheated, electrically-ionized gas plasma generated between the plasma-cutting tool and the metal being cut itself. A pressurized gas (usually oxygen though technically dependent on the material being cut) is expelled from a concentrated nozzle at high velocity and directed at the metal being cut.
An electrode near the nozzle or incorporated into it forms an electric arc between itself and the piece in question. This ionizes some of the gas, and an electrically conductive channel of plasma results. A grounding clamp completes the circuit, connecting back to the plasma cutter. This system focuses the power of the pressurized gas and high-speed plasma to blast away the molten metal, cleaving through the metal being shaped.
Applications of Plasma Cutting
The plasma cutting method can cut carbon steel, stainless steel, alloy steel, brass, copper, and aluminum, to name a few. It is the ideal cutting method when manufacturers are looking for quicker results that are still of high quality. It can deliver meticulous cuts at high speed while staying within a reasonable price range.
These many positives make plasma cutting the go-to method for many industries. It is common practice in manufacturing, industrial construction, auto repair and restoration, and salvage and scrapping operations. Large industrial corporations and modest hobbyist shops alike value the power of the process in conjunction with its versatility.
Cutting Heavy Steel Plate with Norfolk Iron & Metal
Norfolk Iron & Metal has been recognized as a reliable and trustworthy provider of quality metals and metal services for more than 100 years. Today we work to employ the most cutting-edge technology and the most experienced professionals to always produce results that impress. We provide the perfect blend of family-owned and corporately operated.
Operating broadly across the entire United States, Norfolk Iron & Metal utilizes plasma steel cutting technology to perfectly cut and shape your heavy steel plate. We never shy away from the thickest metal sheets, precisely forming the material to your specifications. We can also thread holes, even in plate thicker than 2 inches. Letting us manage your plasma steel cutting is a sure way to get the product and results you are looking for.