Waterjet is known as the most versatile cutting process in the industry for cutting and shaping with the highest precision. It can be combined with oxy-fuel or with plasma. The process uses an extremely high-pressure water stream carrying abrasive, which is responsible in cutting through materials with a sawing action. This enables waterjet to cut through almost anything except for materials that are very brittle like some ceramics and tampered glass.
Waterjet cutting is a CNC process in which a jet of water blasts through a material at a high speed, cutting the material precisely and smoothly. This type of cutting process is very common in many industries today. A waterjet cutting machine is very versatile and can be applicable to almost all types of jobs in different industries. The process is simple, yet a complex one.
How does it works?
Waterjet cutting process is a cold cutting process, which means that the material being cut is not affected by heat. The first step of the process is designing the piece, which involves the appropriate CAD or computer-aided design program. In this stage, everything is assigned accordingly, including the type of material to be cut, the measurements, and the thickness.
Once the design of the piece is finish, is then linked to a program via the waterjet cutting machine. The design program is stored in the computer database of the waterjet machine. No matter the material being cut, you will have clean and smooth edges, free of imperfections. The machine will cut in a continuous process, but sometimes there are interruptions to check the output and make sure that everything is perfect according to the design.
The waterjet is not just water alone. It is mixed with some abrasive. This mixture is released at 4,000 bars of pressure or even more, and it passes through 0.08 to 0.45 mm in diameter nozzle. This makes this machine capable of cutting through almost anything. The nozzle, though, can influence the technical capability of the process. Conical jets have the tendency to have an increased diameter, which could compromise its precision, cutting power, and the overall quality of the output.
The pressure can be reduced to about 2,000 bars, depending on the material being cut. Some materials do not even require the abrasive, such as plastics, which are material with very little resistance and toughness.
The waterjet method can also be used without cutting. Other applications of waterjet without cutting include preparing surfaces, cleaning vehicles, ships, and other applications in aerospace. No surface oxidation and no contaminants with the waterjet method. The method might be slow and can be expensive, but you can expect incredible output from it. In comparison to other cutting methods, waterjet can cut precisely, smoothly, and can cut through very thick and tough materials.
See also: waterjet cutter