Waterjet cutting uses supersonic stream water with a granular abrasive to cut parts. Waterjet cutting can be used to cut everything, from foam to steel. It is versatile and has excellent accuracy. This makes waterjet cutting a popular method of cutting precise parts for aircraft, automobiles, and architectural systems.
What is a Waterjet?
A CNC-guided cutting head is used to waterjet cut the workpiece following a programmed path. A granular abrasive, such as garnet and aluminum oxide, is used to cut through most materials. Water jets are capable of cutting foam, food, rubber, or other soft materials, but water jets without abrasives can be used to cut metals, stone, and wood. Abrasives are needed for cutting ceramics, glass, metals, and wood.
How does a waterjet cut? Waterjet cutting machines can be easily switched between abrasive and pure waterjet cutting. This allows the machine to handle almost all types of material. Waterjet cutting systems come in many configurations, but they are generally made up of these components:
Pump with high pressure. Waterjet cutters make use of high-pressure water pumps to create supersonic cutting streams.
The cutting head and the nozzle. The cutting head is a pressurized stream that flows through a jewel orifice. It has a diameter of just a hair and forms a well-defined jet of water. The stream draws in a predetermined amount of granular abrasive to create abrasive waterjet cuts. The supersonic stream then passes through a waterjet nozzle or mixing tube, where water accelerates it. The combined stream is strong enough to cut through materials up to a foot thick.
Catcher tank. After cutting the workpiece, energy from the jet is released into a water-filled catcher tank.
Abrasive delivery system. The garnet is delivered through piping to the cutting machine by a pressurized abrasive hopper. The abrasive flow controller system measures the garnet and meters it into the cutting head.
CNC motion control system. High-precision motion control systems accurately guide the multi-axis cutting heads along the predetermined path. The system includes the operator interface, software, CNC controller, and servo motors with velocity and position feedback.
What can a waterjet cut?
Waterjet cutters can be used to cut a wide range of materials. It can cut through a wide range of materials thanks to its versatility, such as:
Waterjet cutting, which is cold-cutting, can cut metals without thermally altering or warping. Waterjets are used to cut carbon steel, aluminum, and titanium. These components can be used in critical applications.
Waterjet cutting is a faster and more accurate way to cut superalloys than traditional methods. Waterjet cutting creates superalloy parts that are used in everything, from rocket engines and submarines to nuclear reactors and nuclear reactors.
Plastics. Waterjets are capable of cutting plastics in a variety of densities. This makes it an efficient way to produce high-quality parts for medical devices, electrical insulation products, food manufacturing equipment, and many other applications.
Glass. Waterjet cutting allows you to cut through glass without damaging it. This makes waterjet cutting ideal for creating mirrors, glass panels, inlays on tabletops, solar panels, and other custom-shaped products.
Stone and tile. Waterjet cutting can efficiently and accurately cut stone, tile, granite, marble, and other materials into a variety of shapes. Waterjets are often used to cut logos, inlays, and medallions.
Waterjet cutting excels at cutting difficult ceramic materials. This makes it an excellent cutting option for making electrically insulating ceramic parts for electronics and aerospace applications.
Waterjet cutting is capable of creating complex shapes and profiles for foam cases, dividers and insert materials, padding, and other products. Waterjets can cut foam without the use of an abrasive.
Waterjet cutting can produce rubber gaskets and seals with precise edges, corners, notches, and vent holes.
Waterjet cutting has many benefits
Waterjet cutting is different from other cutting methods because of its many benefits:
Cost-effectiveness. Waterjet cutting is more cost-effective than other high-precision methods. You will also save time and money by having a waterjet cutter that is quick to set up and cut. This allows for faster turnaround times and quicker transitions from drawing to cutting.
Superior edge quality. Waterjets create smooth cuts with minimal burr. This saves time and money.
Amazing accuracy. Waterjet cutting can achieve tolerances of +/- 0.02'' 0.05mm, depending on the system. Waterjet cutting is a popular choice for parts with intricate designs and tight tolerances. Waterjets can be used to achieve greater accuracy in finish machining because they have unharmed, pristine cut faces.
No heat-affected zones. Waterjet cutting is a cold process and eliminates all warping, hardened edges, inaccuracy due to thermal expansion, and other issues that can occur during cutting. This is particularly important when working with heat-sensitive materials or parts that have to be manufactured within very tight tolerances.
Green benefits. Waterjet cutting is an eco-friendly method that reduces the risk of slag formation, toxic fumes, and smoke from thermal cutting methods like plasma or laser. Waterjet cutting does not require chemicals or lubricants. The majority of the waste material is made up of finely crushed garnet, which is an environmentally friendly by-product.