Everything You Need to Know About Waterjet Cutting
According to market watch, the waterjet cutting industry is set to grow at an 8.2% rate within the next five years.
I doubt that we as humans will ever find an element more powerful than water.
It’s evident in the way it can give or take away life. It’s no shock that it industrialists have found a way to integrate water with technology making it even more useful to mankind today.
If you are wondering how water can cut, then you have come to the right page. This article will take you through all you need to know about water jet cutting techniques.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is a Water Jet?
- 2 How It Works
- 3 Applications of Water Jet Cutting Machines
- 4 Benefits of Waterjet Cutting
- 5 More on Waterjet Technology
What Is a Water Jet?
Now, this is a simple question but whose answer we might fail to know.
A waterjet cutting machine is an industrial tool that is used in cutting a wide range of tools. It does through the use of high pressured steam which erodes a line of material at once.
It’s a really simple concept. You have seen some images on gully erosion, right? So imagine a piece of land undergoing through all that change within a second. Now, this is exactly what happens to your material.
An abrasive is added to increase the waterjet cutting power. This is done on the nozzle which makes it really easy to switch from water only to abrasive waterjet cutting.
It’s actually the main difference between old cutting machines which could only cut soft materials and new ones which can even cut through titanium.
This allows machine high flexibility as you can easily switch from cutting one material to another within the shortest time possible.
This also means that a water jet cutting machine has varying cutting intensities which allows you to form decorative patterns on whatever it is you are working in.
How It Works
Now that you have a clue on what a waterjet cutting machine is. Let’s look at its operation.
First, we will go over the parts.
1. High-Pressure Pump
This is what makes a waterjet, a cutting machine. It causes the flow of pressurized water at a very high temperature to facilitate cutting.
2. Abrasive Nozzle
Now pay attention because this might get a little bit confusing.
The pressurized water from the pump passes through a small diameter opening. It collects for a while and then passed through a venture section where tiny abrasive materials are added to the water.
The end result is a slurry mixture of the two. And trust me you don’t want to be at the end of the nozzle. It’s like giving teeth to water. Tiny granular metallic teeth.
3. Articulated Cutting Head
This part is actually computer controlled and permits angled cuts. The feature allows the decrease of taper for defined cuts.
4. Catcher Tank
The catcher tank is filled with water which disperses the energy of the abrasive jet after cutting. This allows the cutting machine to consume only the required energy.
5. Abrasive Hopper
The essential part allows a metered flow of abrasive materials into the nozzle.
6. X-Y Traverse System
This brings in the accuracy element present in a water jet machine. A precision XY system moves the nozzle to create its desired path.
7. PC Based Controller
Yeah, don’t you just love hearing the name PC based controller? You are immediately assured of an easier time with the machine
All you have to do is interact with the PC and input your desired result.
8. Waterjet Pressure
We cannot fail to mention that Pressure is a major component of this cutting machine.
Actually, how much difference does pressure make, has been a debatable subject among the waterjet engineers. Some argue that the more the pressure the faster cutting will be while are others are more concerned about motor efficiency.
Applications of Water Jet Cutting Machines
The best thing with water jet cutting machines is that they can cut a whole range of materials giving them a big significance in the leading industries today.
Its wide range of materials include metals like hardened tool steel, aluminum, copper and titanium. And need I add that it can also cut through multilayer safety glass.
Stone, ceramic, and composite are also in the list. Pure waterjet (water only) are used for cutting softer materials like gasket, foam, and paper while abrasive waterjets are used in cutting harder materials like glass and metal.
Various materials use different cutting speeds
Benefits of Waterjet Cutting
For us to understand the advantages of waterjet as the machine we must compare it with others.
Waterjet Vs Laser
Laser cutting technology uses a beam of light which melts or vaporizes the material as required.
Even though it has been rumored that the two can be used interchangeably, this is not always the case. Materials with a huge thickness can tend to be a problem for laser machines but a piece of cake for water jet machines.
Waterjet Vs Plasma
Plasma technology employs the use of electricity to heat up a stream of gas which is then used to cut electrically conductive materials.
Plasma is faster than waterjet but it’s cutting quality has proven to be inferior. With waterjet, you can get precise cuts.Waterjet Costs
All the above advantages sound great but the real question is, how much will all these cost you and is it really worth it.
Here are a few factors you might consider when calculating the cost of your cutting machine
• Risk of fragile material breaking• Time is taken to program the mapped path• Number of piercings in the material• Cost of consumables• Duration of necessary activities like setup, loading, and maintenance.
More on Waterjet Technology
Even with all the benefits, water jet cutting machines have to offer, they still haven’t reached their full usability yet.
This has been contributed by the fact that steel is the most commonly used industrial metal and a wide range of cutting machines can do the job just fine.
However, experts and trendsetters know that for better-specialized industrial cutting, waterjet technology is the best solution.
For more helpful info, check out the rest of our blog.