Motocut plasma cutter tackles steel piles

motocut plasma cutter

MotoCut, a company based in Finland, has introduced a fully-automated, self-contained P-400 plasma cutter

By Dan Pelton

It is plain to see that steel piles are both uniform and versatile.

They can be deployed in applications ranging from fencing to decks, building additions to garages and, when accompanied by a full foundation, steel piles can take on the role of deep footings.

Premade under factory conditions, steel pilings boast a structural consistency that results in less time-consuming, on-site building inspections.

If these attributes are not enough, there is now a plasma cutting technology that further enhances the piles’ appeal.

MotoCut, a company based in Finland, has introduced a fully-automated, self-contained P-400 plasma cutter that runs off any 13-to-20 ton hydraulic excavator with a hammer line and tilt-rotator.

The computer-controlled cutting process increases both quality and productivity. The pile cutter may be operated solely by the excavator driver without the need for extra labour.

While MotoCut is a relatively new company that started in 2012, it possesses a wealth of experience in the industry and has established a global network of experienced distributors, including Pinnacle Drilling Products (PDP) that has locations in Burnaby, BC and Calgary, Alberta.

“Pinnacle Drilling Products, in conjunction with its partner Motocut, offer a full installation, commissioning and operator training package as part of the support provided with the purchase of the unit,” said PDP’s Simon Bennett.

“In addition, PDP has all wear parts, and critical spares readily available.”

MotoCut P-400Plasma cutting is a process that cuts through electrically conductive materials by means of an accelerated jet of hot plasma.

It involves an electrical plasma arc, which is used to melt the metal and when compressed air is blown through a nozzle at high velocity towards the molten metal, it is then blown away; thereby cutting through the steel pile.

The nature of plasma cutting does not allow it to be used on such things as concrete or wood, since they are not electrically conductive. MotoCut, however, does have a product line that deals with concrete cutting.

The P-400 plasma cutter obtains its power from the excavator’s hammer line hydraulics.  Oil is fed to the hammer line at a rate of 151 litres per minute at 2,900 psi, in order to start the hydraulic generator. The excavator needs a minimum 13,000 kg capacity, so it may lift both the P-400 and the offcut steel pile.

“When piles are cut with the MotoCut P-400, the cut offs do not need any rework and they can be easily be spliced,” Bennett said.

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The cutting speed of the P-400 is 51 cm per minute, but Bennett figures the more important benefits are not necessarily the speed of the machine, but the time and cost savings that come from handling the offcuts and that the cut offs do not need rework.

The thought process behind the development of the P-400 is perhaps best summarized by the mission statement of MotoCut: “Our mission is to make the excavator more versatile and more cost-effective, as well as safer to use, thereby producing competitive advantages for our customers.”