What is an Oxygen Lance?


An oxygen lance is a device used to melt or cut steel too thick to be cut with a conventional oxy-acetylene torch using a long alloy steel tube or pipe to feed oxygen under pressure to a preheated area. The oxygen lance achieves this cutting action by causing an oxidation and melting reaction of a preheated area of the material to be cut by directing the jet of oxygen onto it. The stream of oxygen then blows this area of melted steel away to form a cut. Steel and cast iron up to eight feet (about 240 cm) thick can be melted using an oxygen lance which is not possible using conventional cutting apparatus.

The typical oxygen lance is a very simple device which consists of a alloy steel tube with an inside diameter of 0.15 to 0.25 inches (about 3-6 mm), a specially designed long reach oxy-acetylene torch, an oxygen source capable of supplying a constant 40-50 PSI (2.7-3.5 bar) flow to the lance, and suitable fire proof safety equipment. The lance tube itself should be as long as is practical since it is steadily consumed during the cutting process and should keep the operator at a safe distance from the cutting area.