Advantages Of Waterjet Cutting
There are many methods and machines that can cut parts, but the most effective, efficient, and affordable method is called waterjet cutting. For many manufacturers, waterjet cutting is the preferred operation. They want to cut high-quality parts without being affected by unfavorable materials. This can play a role when relying on other cutting methods.
The water jet uses a mixture of concentrated water and garnet (fine sand), which is sprayed through a small hole under extremely high pressure (50,000-60,000 psi). The result is a very fine cutting flow that can pass through almost any type of material with almost no hardness/thickness restrictions. Like other CNC-type machines, the water jet uses CAD data to adjust the speed, cutting depth, etc. according to the specified tool path and different cutting types/quality.
Water jet is a very effective machine, and as more and more manufacturers and engineers understand its unique capabilities and benefits, it is becoming more and more popular in the industry.
It can cut thicker parts
One of the biggest advantages of cutting with a water jet is that you are not limited by the thickness of the material. The water jet can easily pass through thin materials, and operators usually stack the thin materials in layers so that the water jet can cut several pieces of material at a time. This method can reduce production time and increase material yield without sacrificing cutting quality.
The real advantage of water jets comes into play on thicker materials. In limited materials, other cutting methods may lose performance/quality anywhere between 1/2 inch and 2 inches, and the water jet can reliably cut up to an amazing 15-inch thick stainless steel. This is the real difference between a water jet and its competitors. Think about it, cutting high-quality profiles of thick materials by water jet, or modifying existing parts by using a water jet, otherwise, other machines cannot handle these parts, which can save time for secondary processing operations.
Does not generate heat when cutting
Another unique advantage provided by the water jet is the ability to cut parts without generating any heat. When it comes to material selection and secondary operations, this has many benefits.
In many cases, heat can cause trouble in processing. When cutting softer materials, excessive heat will cause melting, warping, discoloration, and other negative effects, which will adversely affect the finished product. For harder materials, adding heat will actually change the physical composition of the sheet/raw material, making it more difficult to process during secondary processing.
When customers want to be sure that their materials will not lose any structural integrity due to the effects of heat, they choose water jets every time.
Can cut almost any material
We have determined that thickness and heat are not the limiting factors when it comes to water jet cutting. So, does this mean that the water jet can cut almost any material? The answer is...almost, yes. The ability to cut multiple materials is another benefit of water jet cutting, making it one of the most versatile machines in any store.
Water jets can cut seemingly endless organic and inorganic materials. All types of ferrous and non-ferrous metals are some of the most common cutting materials in water jets, including brass, copper, aluminum, titanium, and various steels. Water jets are equally effective in cutting more abstract materials such as plastic, rubber, wood, ceramic tiles, stone, glass, etc. Water jets are even used in the food industry to cut custom cakes and pastries and slice bread.
Some CNC machine tools require long installation and complex fixtures and may require several hours of installation and calibration before a single chip is cut. On the other hand, water jets require very little installation and can be installed and running in minutes instead of hours.
Whether the work requires a large piece of material, or you only need to cut a small part from an existing residue, the water jet usually only requires the weight of a clamp and bracket to hold the material. After that, all you need to do is create zero and load the program. A skilled operator can complete this process in a short time, making the setup cost almost zero.
Quick setup and limited fixation in a water jet can be a real benefit to customers. Depending on the size of the work, most stores can offer significantly shorter delivery times for water jet work, which is a huge difference when it comes to reducing costs and speeding up production.
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Waterjet Cutting Machine