Waterjet technology is basically the flow of water to the pump, which then reaches pressures up to 100,000 psi. It then travels through high pressure tubing and out to the cutting head. There are two types of waterjet cutting:
1. Abrasive Waterjet Cutting
2. Pure Waterjet Cutting
Abrasive Waterjet Cutting
Abrasive waterjet cutting is more popular than pure waterjet cutting. Abrasive waterjet cutting uses abrasives to erode the material. The waterjet cutting head needs to be close to the material being cut. Abrasive waterjet cutting is best for increased production for many types of applications. These applications include: glass cutting (kitchen, shower screens, bullet proof glass, inlays, stained glass, etc.) exotic metals (steel, titanium, aluminium, copper, stainless steel, bronze, tool steel, nickel, alloys etc.) stone and tile cutting (floor inlays, wall inlays, custom tiles, custom flooring, counter tops, etc.).
Pure Waterjet Cutting
Pure waterjet cutting is used for applications that take in consideration the speed of the waterjet cutting, reliability, and minimal residual moisture. The residual moisture residue is very low because of the very small stream (very small orifice streams) and very high speeds. For that reason alone, pure waterjet cutting is very popular in the paper industry. Pure waterjet cutting is very commonly used for the following industries: slitting, paper, foam, fabric, installation, diapers, plastics, leathers, and also used in food cutting such as cakes and produce.
Advantages of WaterJet Cutting
Cold cutting – no heat affected zones, no hardening
Omni-directional cutting – ability to cut in any direction
Perforates most materials without starting holes
Cuts virtually any material
Net-shape or near-net-shape parts (no secondary processing required in many applications)
Minimal fixturing required
Environmentally friendlyReduces dust and hazardous gases
Does not workload material – stress-free cutting
Flexible machine integration
Saves raw materials (small cutting kerf width, nesting capabilities)
Faster than many conventional cutting tools
Another major advantage of water jet cutting is waterjet’s ability to cut fiber-reinforced materials, reflective materials, uneven surfaces and stacked layers of different materials. Since the mechanical processes take place on a microscopic level, the contents and surface finish of the material are not critical factors.
Waterjet cutting is especially advantageous in cutting complex shapes. Materials can be cut into almost any shape. Sharp corners, bevels, pierce holes, and shapes with minimal inner radii are all possible. Stacking, nesting and tabbing optimizes material and can significantly reduce cutting times.