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How many tons per day from a good burner?
June 19, 2010
4:47 PM
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I have also burned 1,000s of tons of material and done contracting with allot of scrap yards and a few demo contractors. I can tell you there is no exact science to determining how much a burner should cut in a day. Every customer and steel mill seems to have there own specs for what material you have and how you cut it. The majority of the demo contractors on here will be cutting beams that are over 1 inch in thickness and heavy machinery, rail, tanks, pipes, heat exchangers etc. Pretty much anything that a shear can not eat up. A scrap yard for instance will get new production scrap and obsolete machinery, beams, flame cut, demo scrap, excavating equipment, etc. The amount you cut will depend on what kind of oxygen you are using and how many cubic foot of oxygen your torch will output in an hour. I say what kind of oxygen you are using because they have 12 packs, VLG, and my favorite micro bulk. A 12 pack will hold 3700 cubic feet of oxygen in a gas form. A VLG or vertical liquid gas will hold 4500 cubic feet of liquid oxygen and holds 160 liters of liquid oxygen. They do make 5500 liquids and even 6000 liquids and they are on wheels. They are real nice if your oxygen supplier has them and you are on concrete. Nothing like wheeling something over to where you need it rather then having to keep spinning the bottle to where you need it. Want to tell what size VLG's you have on your job site just look at the giant tag sticker put on it by the manufacture it will say 4500, 5500, or 6000 on it. A micro bulk typically starts at 500 gallons and runs up to 3000 gallon and holds 58000 cubic foot of liquid oxygen to 345000 cubic feet. They make Tube Trailer that are 50000 cubic foot but there are few of them available. Micro bulk is way more commonly available and is it is either horizontal or vertical and has a vaporizer with it that should be appropriate to how many men you have burning and what torches you are using and how many cubic foot an hour all of the torches combined will output with the triggers locked in and running wide open. Lets say for example the most commonly used torch by anyone cutting scrap is a three foot Harris scrap cutter torch. Its a good torch not excellent but good. Its maximum output is 3000 cubic foot an hour. Your vaporizer should be 3000 cubic foot. Got four guys burning with three foot torches then your vaporizer should be 12,000 cubic foot an hour. Not having the right vaporize can quickly lead to a headache for your torch men being starved for oxygen and hoses freezing because you are sucking liquid straight out of the tank. On the higher end you have bigger and badder torches that output 6000 cubic feet an hour. I have always said the more oxygen you use the more tonnage you are going to burn up. These torches are meant for men not children remember a torch has no feelings and is not afraid to hurt you if you use it wrong. Back to the original question though a decent burner with a Harris torch and a number 8 H-scrapper tip should be able to cut about 15-20 tons of I beams in a day granted the beams are around 1 inch. The bigger the beam the longer it takes to cut but that is always offset by weight. Please consider the amount of cuts you are going to have to make to make the material prepared. I-beams take usually two cuts to make them prepared. So now lets say you are cutting a tank that is an inch thick. You have to make two two foot cuts and two five foot cuts to make it 5x2 plate and structural. You are doubling the amount of cuts therefore cutting your tonnage in half for that day. Heavy machinery typically takes allot of cuts and allot of time further reducing your tonnage cut in an eight hour day and it has to be cut 4x2 or 3x18 inches. There are also other variables to add into the equation. How many psi are you setting your gauges at? how often are you able to clean up the burning field? how good is your magnet operator or grapple operator? How many tons of material is there on the job site to get cut? Which kind of setup am I using? Is your torchhead 90 degrees or 180 degrees. Are you using NSF tips, H-scrapper tips or a one piece tip? Which does not seperate so you can clean the fins out. Propane, acetylene, or chemtane? Remember your gas salesman is always always going to sell you up the river on what you need to burn. Take for example the common myth that acetylene burns hotter then propane therefore its a better gas to get a higher preheat. Completely false all you have to do is turn your propane gas gauges up and just like magic you have a higher preheat temp. Propane is the cheapest to use. Please remember propane is a heavy gas and if you are using allot of it you better have a tank bigger then 100 lb propane which holds 26.5 gallon of propane or you will have frosting on your tank and the propane will freeze to the bottom of the tank and not rise to the top in gas form which you can use it then. Freezing of propane is a serious problem when its winter and cold. The next size up from a hundred pound propane is a 435 propane which holes 100 gallons of propane and is 4 times bigger then a 100 pound propane. Then you have bulk propanes which start at 500 gallons. With propane the more you buy the cheaper its gets. The reason you pay more for a 100 pound propane and get a small amount of propane is because of the labor involved in putting the propane in the bottle. for example a 100 pound propane might be 100 dollars to buy it but a 435 might cost 250 to 275 dollars and have 4 times the product then a 100 pounder will have. Buying vertical liquids vs 12 packs. Your salesman is always going to want to sell you VLG and probably do the delivery on a Thursday or Friday. The reason for this is a VLG will build pressure and blow off product. Every time you hear that hissing of a tank on your job site you are losing money and they want that to happen. Say you get 12 VLG delivered at a time on a Thursday and you go through 2 of them a day by the time you get to your next delivery you will lose 25 to 35 percent of your gases in pressure building and blow offs as I call them. So you need to weight how many cubic feet of oxygen you need on a job before you pick which kind of delivery system you want VLG or 12 packs or micro bulk if available. With 12 packs you lose no product unless you have a hole in your hose. 12 packs may cost a little more and have less oxygen then a VLG but it might satisfy your needs for that particular job. Like I said its impossible to determine how much one burner should put out in a day. I have always said I want a burner not a LEARNER. I don't want someone who stares at the scrap all day because we all know you cant stare a piece of scrap apart the only way to get it apart is to torch it. Sorry if I sound like I am rambling on I just would like to help shed some light on burning and what you should consider to make the most out of your scrap and the cutting of it. Any other questions I will be free to answer just drop me an email at [email]pistonescrapprocessing@yahoo.com[/email]. I hope this helps some of you out in determining your needs.

June 16, 2010
3:15 PM
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I've burned 1.000's of tons of steel. A good number for standard P&S is 20-25 tons for a good burner. Heavy melt can yield more tons per day but use more O2 & propane.
Rusty material will decrease the volume to about 15 tons per day. Rolls and billets will add up to 40 tons per day with shotguns for a single person.
I was 11 and cut 12 tons of light stuff in 1 day...my dad bought me a new pair of shoes as a reward:)

June 7, 2010
5:17 PM
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Sweffler - I answered off a recent job we did. We had huge W36 that weighed 15l0bs per LF - so the tonnage adds up on 5' pieces. Tonnage will depend on what he or she is cutting - if its PNS? Light Iron? equipment?

June 7, 2010
3:40 PM
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Plate and Structural???

June 6, 2010
5:45 AM
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25 tons

May 7, 2010
1:40 PM
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What would you all say was the average output from a good ground-burner cutting scrap up at 5ft-2ft size for a days cutting?

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