The moment you have seen how water jet machines work, you will understand the underlying reason why people working behind the metal fabrication and manufacturing spheres consider this method of cutting as a versatile alternative to laser, plasma, and mechanical slitting machines.
Quite the opposite of thermal cutting, they can process metal cutting procedures sans the creation of heat-affected zones or HAZ. This explains the reason why waterjet machines were elevated to becoming one of the most preferred materials cutting methods for processing of metal parts for use in the construction and aerospace applications where even slight alterations in the metallurgical properties could create a significant impact to the overall integrity of the material.
Over the years waterjet systems, together with many other material cutting methods, had to undergo some inevitable changes for improvement. Some of the inherent attributes of newer systems of these material cutting methods would be their ability to cut your material faster and in a more precise manner. Accuracy is key. In addition to that, they are also far more reliable for a more elevated uptime.
Advances in engineering and system diagnostics that portend of a looming problem before it even starts have rendered water jet systems as the more dependable and reliable material cutting method as opposed to those that were designed about a couple of decades ago. By this measure, maintenance is somewhat more predictable, generally minimizing downtime.
In any waterjet system, probably what can be considered as the hardest working part would be no less than the intensifier. With all the moving parts and components that it has, the odds that something could go wrong about it is high. The most common issues about it include water leaks, short seal life, and overstroming.
There is nothing unusual to an intensifier that strokes faster while on startup mode as well as when it is trying to shift between high pressure and low pressure. But if it is under normal operation, it should stroke smoothly and seamlessly to the left and the right at just about the same speed.
There would be occasions though that the hydraulic piston would be traveling faster in just one or with both directions. Sometimes going even beyond what the pump can provide support in, this is referred to as overstroking.
Water leakage is another area of great concern in water jet systems. One of the most complained about causes of water leaks in the intensifier has something to do with damage to the water seals and the hoops.
If there is a visible presence of water right after every few strokes, take this as a sign that the seals are closing in to the end of their shelf life and with that, you need to prepare for a replacement anytime soon. Or that you can just opt to change the seals at the soonest opportunity.
Presence of leaks in other areas, it might be an indication of a worn-out part, damaged seat or loose-fitting. Addressing such leakage at the soonest is of paramount importance to prevent damage to spread in other nearby components.
Short Seal Life
If there are a handful of telltale signs that your high-pressure water seals are not entirely durable and may have a short shelf life, there are several practices you can observe to somehow lengthen up the interval between maintenance works are:
- Ensure that the quality of the water itself is within the range of satisfactory levels.
- See to it that these two are within the set minimum requirements, water pressure, and volume.
- Clean all parts and components when replacing seals, and in doing so ensure that they are free of any debris.
- Thoroughly inspect the high-pressure cylinder ends for any cracks.
- See to it also that your hydraulic cartridge or plunger bearing is not worn.
The simple and easy to follow troubleshooting steps given above can be observed even when we are in a community lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic. Provided that you follow them to a T and you’d see yourself saving not just money but your valuable time, too, from a service technician. This way you can rake in more profit by keeping your water jet machine in good working condition.