Smart Ideas: Waterjets Revisited

Most Important Benefits of Waterjet Cutting

Waterjet cutting is a process of cutting materials using a jet of water. It can involve either just water, or water with an abrasive for harder and denser materials, such as steel. Pressure of around 40,000 to 60,000 PSI (pounds per square inch) is applied to the water, forcing it out of a precision orifice, also called jewel, and creating a well-defined stream. To give you a clue, water pressure in an average household is around 60 PSI.

Whether you are new to waterjet cutting technology or you have applied it to your manufacturing processes, knowing its advantages over other cutting technologies is always worthwhile, if not necessary.

No Material Restrictions

Waterjet cutting is compatible with practically all kinds of materials, from glass to rubber to stone to composites and almost everything else. The addition of a granular abrasive to water allows the technology to produce quality cuts on materials up to 200 mm thick.

No Heat Concerns

A big advantage of waterjet cutting is that you don’t have to worry about heat affected zone (HAZ) issues, considering that the method is basically cold cutting. Cold cutting doesn’t only lead to clean cuts, but it also boosts the operator’s safety by eliminating the risks of burns.

No Material Distortion

The cold cutting method used in waterjet technology bypasses heat exposure, which means finer cuts can be made without any type of distortion in the material being cut. In other words, you are getting perfect, bur-free results.

No Added Finishing Process

The superior cutting quality of waterjet technology guarantees pinpoint results, making any additional finishing unnecessaryWaterjet technology’s high cutting quality ensures an on-point result and avoids the need for any extra finishing. Waterjet technology can create parts with very tight tolerances (average tolerance is about 0.004 of an inch). If a material is over an inch thick, parts that will be produced will be between +/- 0.005 and 0.100 inch thick. Tolerances differ considerably from one manufacturer to another mainly due to variations in technology and in terms of machine construction.

Zero Hazardous Waste

The rising importance of using environment-friendly processes in every kind of industry cannot be ignored. A big advantage that waterjet cutting has over other cutting technologies is that it is pro-planet, with the process leaving zero toxic waste likes fumes or gases.

Reduced Labour Costs

Waterjet cutting machines are generally used to cut through thick, hard materials, and it often takes long, long hours for the process to be completed. This couldn’t make them more ideal for so-called “lights-out” operations. But even this isn’t excused from issues, which can range from a worn wear insert to a blocked garnet supply and many more. Fortunately, this is not a problem anymore as many modern waterjet manufacturers create machines that are programmed to notify the operator when there are issues. This makes “lights-out” a highly viable option nowadays, which means costs can now be decreased by a huge percentage.

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