Last Update 09/02, time to read: 6mins
Water jet cutting process
In today’s competitive world, all manufacturing processes have to meet three main objectives, such as, Increase in Production, reducing waste, Improving Quality and reducing costs. One such process, which is very effective at reducing costs and generating greater profiles with higher quality is Waterjet cutting. The waterjet cutting machine is one of the most productive machines with minimum waste. On a daily basis, humans are experiencing the power of water. For millions of years, water has been creating new shapes by erosion.
With this principle, in the waterjet cutting, the time is simply reduced by increasing the water pressure. The waterjet cutting does not produce any harmful gases or liquids and heat on the surface of the workpiece, it is a truly versatile, efficient and cold cutting process. The waterjet cuts with maximum precision and flexibility, regardless of the material type and composition. High-pressure waterjet cutting is furthermore characterized by environmental and user-friendliness. Our engineer has years’ experience on waterjet cutting, if you would like to learn more, you are always welcome to contact our engineer directly
How does it work?
Waterjet cutting is an engineering method for cutting different shapes or curves on various types of materials by using the energy from high speed, high density and ultra-high-pressure water. The water is pressurized to a maximum of 392 MPa (approximately 4000 atmospheres) and projected from a small-bore nozzle (Φ 0.1mm). The ultrahigh-pressure pump is used to pressurize the water, by which the water speed reaches approximately three times the speed of sound, producing a water jet with destructive force. It can cut any material in any shape or curve in a single process.
The heat generated during the cutting process will immediately be taken away by the high-speed flow of water jets and does not produce any harmful substances. There will be no thermal effect on the material and no need for any secondary processing after cutting.
Types of Water jet Cutting
In accordance with the difference in cutting capacity, water jet cutting is classified into two types, Pure water jet cutting and Abrasive Water jet cutting.
1. Pure water jet cutting
In pure water jet cutting, the pure water is only used for cutting without any abrasives and is mainly used to cut soft materials including wood, plastic, rubber, foam, felt, food and thin plastics. A water jet cutter designed only for this purpose does not have a mixing chamber or a nozzle. To create a precise cut on the workpiece, a high-pressure pump forces pressurised water out of an orifice. It is less invasive compared to abrasive water jet cutting. It does not impart any additional pressure on the workpiece as the jet stream is also exceptionally fine.
2. Abrasive waterjet cutting
In the abrasive water jet cutting, the abrasive materials are mixed into the water jet to increase the cutting power. By mixing with an abrasive material, it is possible to cut hard and laminated materials mainly ceramics, metals, stones and thick plastics including titanium, stainless steel and aluminium. A water jet cutter requires a mixing chamber to mix the abrasives and water, which is located in the cutting head just before the abrasive jet exists in the system. The approved agents for the abrasive water jet cutting are suspended grit, garnet and aluminium oxide. As the material thickness or hardness increases, so should the hardness of the abrasives in use. The numerous material types can be cut with the right abrasives. However, there are certain exceptions such as tempered glass and diamonds that can not be cut with abrasive water.
Applications of the Water jet cutting
Aerospace:In the aerospace industry, all components require complex and accurate precision. The dictates of aerospace do not allow for any type of error. This is the primary reason that water jet cutting is an essential part of aerospace component manufacturing of jet engines to custom-designed control panels. Abrasive water jet cutting is used in the aerospace industry for cutting steel, brass, Inconel and aluminium.
Auto Industry:Both Pure and abrasive water jet cutting is a perfect solution for the automotive industry because of its strong versatility and high flexibility. It can cut materials such as aluminium, steel and composites as well as door panels or carpets for the car interior. It does not produce any burs, rough edges and mechanical stresses on the surface of the cuts.
Medical Industry:To manufacture life-saving medical implants and surgical instruments, there is nothing more important than the precision and highest quality standards. Abrasive jet cutting can guarantee both since it cuts with the highest accuracy and precisely shapes or curves without any undesirable side effects.
Food Industry:To cut a wide range of foods, pure water jet cutting is a state-of-the-art manufacturing process. Meats, fish, poultry, frozen foods, cakes and even candy bars are cut with the power of pure water.
Architecture:With abrasive jet cutting, one can able to cut all sorts of stones and tiles such as granite, limestone, slate and marble among other materials for floors as well as ceramic tiles or sinkholes for kitchens or bathrooms.
PRO and CONs of Water jet cutting
Extreme Precision:It has an accuracy between ±0.003 inch to ±0.005 inch. As the cutting speed can be altered, mid-cuts and components with multiple edges can be produced.
Secondary finishing:It does not create any rough surfaces, burrs or imperfections which removes the need for secondary finishing. It produces minimal kerfs and smooth finishes.
No Heat Affected Zone (HAZ):As it is a cold-cutting process, it does not require creating any HAZ. It will give the final components with superior edge quality and more dependable properties without imparting any stress to the components.
Highly Sustainable: The finished parts also do not require any post-processing tasks such as heat treatment. In addition, it does not require cooling oils or lubricants as the water jet itself acts as a coolant.
High Efficiency:It is the most efficient cutting method due to its power and handling of materials. Much of its efficiency can be seen in recycling the water it uses and removal of the need for secondary processing.
Initial costing:Researching and adding abrasive materials is crucial for optimum cutting.
Orifice failure:This often happens to low-quality water jet cutting machines and it will often disrupt productivity and increase production costs.
Cutting time:The cutting time is higher than traditional cutting tools which result in less output.
FAQs regarding the water jet cutting
1. Can I cut thick materials with water jet cutting?
Yes, the thick materials can be cut with a water jet cutting machine. Thicker waterjets are not very efficient for thicker materials and the accuracy reduces for thicker materials.
2. Which is better? Waterjet cutting, plasma cutting or laser cutting?
The three most important factors to find out which one is better are Cost, Operational Speed and Cutting quality. Waterjet cutting has the high cutting quality, slowest cutting process and medium cost compared to plasma and laser.
3. What is the difference between pure and abrasive water jets?
Pure water jets use pure water instead of abrasives and the water used in this process is reusable. It is used for cutting soft and medium hard materials. The abrasive water jets use abrasive materials and it is used for cutting hard materials. Garnet is the most used abrasive material because of its high hardness and availability.
Post time: Sep-02-2022