Most Important Benefits of Waterjet Cutting
Waterjet cutting is a process of cutting materials using a jet of water. Water alone may be used, or an abrasive could be added to help cut through harder and denser materials, like steel. The water is pushed out of a precision aperture, or jewel, at about 40,000 to 60,000 PSI (pounds per square inch), thereby producing a sharp stream of water. 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 Limitations
Waterjet cutting is versatile in that it can cut all kinds of materials, from composites to metals to plastics to rubber to glass and more. When a granular abrasive is added to water, a waterjet cutting machine can cut smoothly into materials with a maximum thickness of 200 mm.
No Heat Affected Zone (HAZ)
A key advantage of waterjet cutting is that it is a cold-cutting method, which means you deal with no heat affected zone (HAZ) issues. Cold cutting will not only give you the cleanest, most defined cuts, but it will also increase the operator’s safety as burn risks disappear from the picture.
No Material Distortion
With its cold cutting technique, materials will obviously not be exposed to heat, which could otherwise cause distortions as seen in most other heat-dependent cutting projects. In short, you just get a nice, bur-free cut.
No Extra Finishing
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 can vary significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer because of differences in technology and in how the machines were built.
The rising importance of using environment-friendly processes in every kind of industry cannot be ignored. A tremendous advantage provided by waterjet cutting is that it comes with absolutely no hazardous wastes, such as fumes or gases associated with other cutting machines.
Less Labor 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 problems can still occur, such as a damaged orifice, a blocked focusing tube, etc. 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.