Cutting tubes and pipes is one of the practical industrial fabrication procedures that many manufacturers utilize to create products for different applications. Choosing the method for the process involves various factors. The pipe and tube cutting’s primary factors are the material, thickness, end-conditioning requirements, squareness of ends, and secondary process needs. Other circumstances that play an essential role in the system include cutting efficiency, production volume, overhead costs and special equipment for the material.

Tube and Pipe fabricators utilize various methods, including lathe cutting, sawing, rotary, shear cutting, dual-blade, laser cutting, band saw cutting, cold sawing, abrasive cutting, etc. Each of these methods has its assets and limits. The followings are the introduction to different methods for cutting tubes and pipes.

Tubes and Pipes Saw Cutting

Saw cutting is one of the most versatile methods that manufacturers adapt for fabricating tubes and pipes. Regardless of each sawing process’s uniqueness, this method is suitable for production that requires both low-volume and large-volume. There are two main types of saw cutting: “band saw cutting” and ” cold sawing”.

The band saw cutting is a fully automatic system and is the most common way to fabricate bar, pipes, and tubes. The method is perfect for large-volume production and can manage large product bundles. The blade in this system is a metal material that is available in various tooth configurations and properties. The blade rotates on a two-wheel and, depending on the design, it can cut the product in horizontal or vertical directions. Many manufacturers prefer to utilize band saw cutting due to the various shapes such as squares, channels, and rectangular, which they can achieve. Some industrial experts use CNC machines for this method. Despite the many advantages that the process provides, it is not an efficient way to cut thin-wall materials, and it can produce burr and cannot achieve tight tolerances.

On the other hand, the cold-saw cutting method is suitable for thin-wall or small-diameter materials that require tight tolerance. This circular system uses a cutting fluid and a wheel blade. Manufacturers apply a mist lubricator to their equipment. This method’s most noticeable characteristics are that the edge has a fixed placement and does not move or wander. It can produce square or perpendicular cuts with minimal or no burrs. Due to the cold cutting process, this type of sawing does not create a HAZ which is beneficial for production systems that require subsequent finishing.

Lathe Cutting for Tubes and Pipes

The lathe cutting machine’s design is efficient for projects that require high-volume production of round tubes and pipes. The operator should feed the material through the shaft to a stop which measures the cut length. A holding college holds the material, and the product starts rotating as tools on cross lines cut it. It is essential to apply a cooling liquid to control the temperature and reduce the tool wear. The lathe method is perfect for thin-wall pipes, which can create square cut ends with minimum burr. During the process, multiple crosses slides permit deburring. The significant benefit of this method is the high production yield. One of the limits of this process is that it can only manage round products.

Rotary Cutting

The rotary cutting method has been in the industry for almost 50 years, and it is very suitable for different materials, mainly for aluminum. This method’s advantages include no material loss with no burrs and can integrate with secondary operations such as chamfering and grooving. It can cut coiled materials and straight lines in soft metals such as copper and aluminum. A rotary system can achieve high production rates on short part lengths.

Shear Cutting

The hear cutting method is fully automatic, which provides high speed and uses two plates and two ID punches. The surpassing thing about this system is that the action is the same for all sizes and thicknesses with maximum limits. The pace of the method depends on the magnitude of the product. The Shearing process leaves no kerfs. Thus, it can save a considerable amount of material. Another advantage of this system is that it can achieve tight tolerance, and the drawback is that the tooling cost is high, and it is not cost-effective for small runs.

Laser Cutting Method for Tubes and Pipes

Despite the high capital cost, a laser cutting method provides various capabilities and advantages. The laser machine is automated, and the operator can control it easily for different purposes. The system allows the operator to deburr, cut, inspect and pack the material while the laser continues its process. The laser beam concentrates tremendous heat energy into minor points and produces narrow kerf widths with tight tolerances and minimal HAZ. The process can cut hard materials, including stainless steel, aluminum alloys and nick alloys. However, the tube and pipe need coating with anti-spatter fluid during the process.