There are many uses for aluminium in the present day. It can often be seen in furniture, window frames and components for the aerospace industry, although there are many more uses. Of course, any products or parts that are made from aluminium will usually need to be cut to the design's desired dimensions. What are the primary techniques for aluminium cutting that are in use nowadays?
The use of lasers for cutting a wide range of metals is widespread in Australia. Light gauges of aluminium, especially aluminium plate, are particularly suited to this sort of cutting process. However, aluminium cutting with medium gauges is also perfectly possible. Laser cutting processes are very accurate, especially when they are combined with CNC control systems that allow for repeatable precision time and again. This process would be perfect for making lots of similarly sized components from a single sheet of metal or for cutting out holes within aluminium sheets for decorative effects.
Many of the same sorts of applications that laser cutting are used for will also be appropriate for punch pressing. The main difference is that punch pressing means that the process of aluminium cutting will be slower. As such, this method is often preferred by fabrication companies who do not necessarily work under the same time constraints as fully automated production lines. In addition, cutting sections of aluminium with a punch press means certain shapes can be accommodated, which laser cutters cannot always handle.
Typically, a handheld ionised torch will be used to cut aluminium. It is used in much the same way to cut aluminium as it would be to shear through sections of steel. However, with aluminium's well-known thermal conductivity properties, you need to cut through it at a faster rate so that it does not begin to melt unduly. As such, this process tends to produce less accurate results than either punch pressing or laser cutting.
This high-tech process can be used on numerous materials including for very precise aluminium cutting. Highly pressurised jets of water are combined with abrasive particles and sprayed onto the metal''s surface. Since no melting occurs with this wet cutting process, very neat edges can be produced for both components and finished products. All types of aluminium can be cut with this process since it is as equally suited to extruded metal sections as it is to sheet forms.