Beyond Flat Plate

Dome cutting creates real challenges in 3-D, but implementing the right technology eases the complexities

In any business, adding capabilities and services can have a measurable impact on the bottom line. And many fabricators have expanded their offerings to attract customers from new industry sectors. This could include adding painting, welding, laser cutting, beveling or bending to a company’s operations.

Living in a 3-D world, more fabricators are beginning to venture beyond flat plate cutting to diversify their offerings. But processing pressure vessels, boilers and similar 3-D objects generally presents some unique and significant challenges.

As with any traditional job, cutting operations must be fast, simple to set up, and produce clean and accurate results that won’t require added manual cleanup. When it comes to 3-D objects, however, this is often easier said than done.

The dome cutting process typically includes creating openings in the dish end of the vessel to allow for the welding of inlet pipes or slicing or trimming of the edges and to prepare the end to be welded to the vessel body. Accuracy is critical as the cross-sections of the cut edges must meet the requirements of the subsequent welding process. Depending on the wall thickness, V, X or K cuts with
constant or variable bevels must meet the prescribed accuracy. Failure to do so means poor quality, excessive scrap and lost contracts.

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