All about Guillotines

There are several types of guillotines used in industrial applications for metal cutting. A guillotine shear, a sheet metal shear and a power shear. These machines shear mild steel and stainless steel by means of a pair of blades set one above the other, with either a fixed or adjustable blade gap, and driven mechanically or hydraulically. The blades are characterized by a fixed or variable cutting angle known as the rake angle, depending on the application they have been designed for. A sundry of designs are available, including manual foot operated or treadle guillotines, direct drive mechanical models and hydraulic designs in both swing beam and variable rake variants.

For Light Gauge Material and Sheet Metal

Direct drive mechanical design models are perfectly suited for cutting light gauge material from 0.5mm up to 30mm mild steel.  If you are cutting in the range of 0.5mm to 3mm, an adjustable blade gap is not necessarily required. It is always advisable to make sure blades are kept sharpened from time to time to avoid rough edges on the cut and to prevent the material from folding which could cause damage to the machine.


For Heavier Gauge and Plate Material

If you are processing plate of around 5 or 6mm and above, hydraulic guillotines are generally preferred in metal fabrication shops.  Most new machines supplied today are hydraulic guillotines. High capacity mechanical shears which are available in thicknesses up to around 30mm are generally used in blanking lines at steel processing plants as they are fast cutting and are able to speed up production. These heavier mechanical flywheel-driven guillotine shears remain in use. As a point of interest, these designs have changed little from the original models in years gone by powered by factory line shaft belt drive systems.

Swing Beam Shears

When cutting 6mm material and thicker plates up to a typical maximum of 20mm mild steel a hydraulic swing beam shear is commonly used. These models have a fixed rake angle which, in order to use less power, are designed to cope with the heavier end of the stated capacity.

Variable Rake Guillotines

If, on the other hand you need to cut a range of thicknesses from lighter gauge material up to heavy plate, then a variable rake guillotine, also known as a guillotine shear, would normally be a the preferred option. The blade comes straight down similar to the guillotines used for beheadings in the time of the French revolution! This design also copes better with shearing thin strips by preventing twisting or bowing. These models are available in plate capacities of 4mm up to 30mm.