Waterjet cutting and its advantages
Waterjet cutting is the process of cutting materials by using a high pressure stream of water. For very hard materials, a granular abrasive is added to the water stream to increase the cutting power. Virtually any material can be cut using waterjet machines including plastics, metals (like steels, alloys, titanium, and copper), rubber, glass, concrete, ceramics, and stone.
The main components of a waterjet cutting machine are:
- A high pressure pump that raises the pressure of the water to about 4000 bar.
- The cutting head which directs the flow of water into a highly focused beam for accurate cutting. If required, an abrasive mixing tube forms part of the cutting head to mix the abrasive with the water.
- Cutting tables that control the position of the cutting head for accurate cuts.
- A control system that can be pre-programmed to perform the cut automatically.
High pressure water cutting is used in industries like aerospace and automotive shops for efficient cutting and shaping of component parts. A major advantage over other cutting techniques is the fact that the cut is performed in cold conditions, thus eliminating heat damage like melting or cracking and heat stresses like hardening or warping. The high quality finish reduces the need for further processing steps and the absence of heat and dust keeps the workplace safe and environmentally friendly.
Abrasive vs. Pure Water
Abrasive waterjet cutting uses an abrasive particle (e.g. garnet) added to high pressure water to cut through hard materials. The abrasive particle is added to the water in the nozzle of a waterjet cutting machine. In this operation, it is actually the abrasive particle that does the work of cutting the material. The role of the water is to accelerate the abrasive particle up to a speed suitable for cutting and to direct the particles to the chosen cutting point.
What is the taper effect and what different types of taper exist?
in waterjet cutting, there are certain factors that affect the shape of the cut through the material. Firstly, the water stream spreads out the further it gets from the nozzle. This has the effect of creating a taper on the cut so that the cut is not square compared to the metal surface. Secondly, the speed of the cut can cause different taper effects by either not allowing enough cutting time or allowing too much. The thickness of the material can also play a role in the natural shape of the water stream through the cut.
Speed & Accuracy
Speed and accuracy can vary according to the texture and thickness of the materials that you are using as well as the cut quality desired. For rubber and gasket cutting, we have waterjet machines whose motion capabilities enable traversing at 2.54 to 76,200 linear mm per minute.
Technijet provides software which can reliably calculate the optimal cutting speeds for a wide range of materials. To ensure a precise result our team will gladly perform test cuts on a sample of your chosen material. The cutting speed is influenced by variable factors such as the type of edge quality required. Factors including the quantity of abrasive, the cutting pressure, size of orifice and focusing tube, pump horsepower and so on, may be tweaked to achieve the desired results. We can tailor our services depending if speed or the most precise cut is of greater importance to the task at hand.
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Our Waterjet cutting system allows us to precisely cut and shape most materials, leaving you with the best possible end solution.