Introduction to Waterjet Cutting
What is a Waterjet?
Waterjet cutting is best described as a controlled, accelerated erosion process. For this reason, a waterjet stream can cut through virtually any known material, making waterjet one of the most versatile machines available.
The intensifier-style pump pressurizes water to very high pressures, in excess of 50,000 psi.
The water-filled tank is the foundation of your waterjet cutting machine. It dissipates the energy of the stream after it has cut through the material on the table.
The high pressure water is transported through a series of stainless steel tubes, then often mixed with abrasive and propelled through the cutting head.
Abrasive Mini Hopper
The mini hopper meters out abrasive to the nozzle according to specific feed rates optimized for cutting.
Job Shop Grates™, water bricks or other supports offer a flat, rigid surface for clamping material fundamental to accurate parts.
The bridge-style gantry is mechanized in the X and Y axes to precisely control movement of the cutting head.
Abrasive Bulk Feed Hopper
The bulk feed hopper holds hundreds or thousands of pounds of garnet abrasive material which is fed into the mini hopper mounted on the Z-Carriage.
The PC-based touchscreen controller (HMI) software converts CAD/CAM files into basic G&M code to operate the waterjet.
Benefits of Waterjet Cutting
Waterjet cutting is best described as an accelerated erosion process that we are controlling. For this reason, waterjet can cut or erode through virtually any material known, making it one of the most versatile machines available. As one of the fastest growing machine tool industries, waterjet cutting has proven to save time and money on countless applications. See why so many have choosen waterjet because of the advantages it offers:
High Precision (Tight Tolerances)
Tolerances tighter than +/- 0.005″ are achievable, especially in thinner materials such as 1″ stainless steel. Waterjet cutting also has the ability to vary tolerances in different locations on a part, ensuring the best price and quality.
Cut Materials up to 12” Thick
Materials ranging from 0.010″ acrylic all the way to 10” thick stainless steel can be cut by waterjet, making it a very versatile tool. You can even stack thin materials to increase productivity and lower costs!
No Heat Affected Zone (HAZ)
Waterjet cutting is a natural erosion process involving no chemicals or heat. Because of this, warping and distortion typically associated with laser, plasma and oxy-fuel cutting is eliminated, therefore minimizing the need for secondary processing.
Less Material Waste
Kerf refers to the width of the material that is removed during the cutting process. In the case of waterjet cutting, kerf ranges from 0.020″ to 0.050″. As a general rule of thumb, the smaller the amount of kerf, the more precise the cutting tool. As compared to other cutting processes, waterjet kerf is very narrow, meaning you can maximize your material to produce the most parts with less waste.
Nesting and Common Line Cutting
Unlike laser, plasma or oxy-fuel cutting, waterjet lends itself to common line cutting. WARDJet offers optional state-of-the-art nesting software, allowing you to nest multiple shapes together and cut them with multiple heads. You can track sheet remnants and nest your parts onto these odd shapes later to help save precious material.
Superior Edge Finish
Taper and edge finish are directly related to cut speed and can be adjusted to whatever job you are cutting. Higher cutting speeds will result in more taper with a coarser edge finish. Slowing down the waterjet can reduce or eliminate taper and achieve a high quality edge finish.
Waterjet in Any Industry
The versatility of the waterjet allows it to be used in nearly every industry. In fact, it may be easier to list the materials that a waterjet can’t cut because it is so much shorter! Contact WARDJet Sales to determine if your material is a good candidate for waterjet cutting.