cutting machine

4 Features That Make Water jet Cutting Perfect For Metal Fabrications

Compared to other cutting processes, waterjet cutting produces cleaner results, better precision, and lower costs while avoiding some of the disadvantages of different methods, such as thermal distortion and rough edges.

Water jet cutter has grown more popular as a cutting process for various tasks throughout the years. This article will assist you in deciding whether or not a waterjet cutting machine is the best option for your subsequent work.

Cold Cutting

Unlike most other cutting methods, waterjet cutting is a cold method. The term “cold cutting” refers to the lack of heat created on the component being cut. The water absorbs the small amount of heat produced.

The heat-affected zone (HAZ) is a region where hot temperatures distort the material, causing chemical and structural alterations resulting in vividly colored bands surrounding the area.

machinery

HAZ can damage and deform components, resulting in a faulty cut that needs additional labor. Because water jet cutting is a cold cutting technique, the material is not heated. Therefore there are no heat-affected zones or thermal deformation.

It Can Cut Almost Any Material

Metals are the most common materials cut by a waterjet. Particularly aluminum because of its softness and can be cut rapidly. Waterjets are capable of cutting a wide range of materials. The two primary materials that waterjets can’t miss are diamonds and tempered glass.

Some modern ceramics are so hard that cutting them isn’t cost-effective. Some composite materials can’t be cut because water can pressurize the in-between layers and cause the fabrics to delaminate.

However, certain composite materials may be easily cut, and there are ways for cutting laminated materials that are incredibly successful.

Additional Finishing Not Needed

laboratory processingIt usually only takes one session with the water jet to get the precise cut you want. Unlike many other cutting processes, no further finishing is generally necessary. It’s ready to take with you after it finishes cutting.

The waterjet’s fineness and precision provide a satin-smooth edge with minimum kerf. Water jets typically has a 0.02” comprehensive stream, resulting in a tight kerf that removes practically minimal material.

If the operator is handling a valuable or hazardous item, this can be pretty useful. Finally, when the kerf width is kept to a minimum, you may save a lot of money and have more material to work with.

Applies to a Wide Range of Industries

The versatility of a waterjet machine’s cutting capabilities makes it beneficial in a broad range of sectors. Waterjet cutting is used in the following industries:

  • Automotive
  • Manufacturing
  • Model Shops/ Rapid Prototyping
  • Aerospace

Choose Your Water Jet Cutting Machine

Your cuts may require varied edge quality depending on what the cut pieces will be intended for. Water jut cutting can make your fabrication project happen.

 

How to Effectively Remove Abrasives in Water Jet Machine Cleanout?

When abrasive water jet machine cutting technology was invented and fully developed, it provided a much-needed reprieve to the manufacturing and metal fabrication industries.

technologyThis success can be attributed to the numerous benefits of the system over existing cutting methods like punching, laser, and plasma cutting. It quickly rose in popularity due to its unparalleled performance, high level of precision, capacity, versatility, and productivity.

Much like any other cutting methods, waterjet systems require routine maintenance from time to time. This will help these machines at their top form, and their output at their best.

The extraction and eventual removal of spent abrasives from the tank are considered among the routine maintenance works for this type of material cutting equipment. 

The abrasive materials used by a waterjet tank will gradually and eventually fill up until such time that it reaches the table’s working surface and will render it no longer usable.

The moment that time comes, it will call for thorough waterjet cleaning to keep the system going well. It is maintenance work that must be carried out with regularity. 

This can be done by employing any of the following methods.

Defining What Water Jet Cutting is All About

Water jet machines use a mixture of high-pressure water driven through a minuscule orifice to create a high-velocity jet stream. This jet of pressurized water comes out of it at a remarkable speed that can reach over 2X the speed of sound! 

It will be so intense that it can cut and slice through solid objects. Or, as some have put it, it can grind its way through your materials, no matter what they are. It works even on tough objects like metals. 

To further intensify its cutting power, the jet stream can be combined with sharp and hard abrasive particles like garnet. Garnet is particularly good for this purpose. The abrasive mixture is then directed back into the waterjet stream via a focus tube. 

The resulting abrasive mixture is then directed into a jet stream via a nozzle called a “focus tube”. It is then directed to the workpiece, where it is shaped and carved using CNC axis control.

Depending on the pump horsepower, the pressure used, and the application it was on, these cutting machines use around 34 up to at least 2 pounds of abrasive material during the entire cutting course. 

After passing through the material, the abrasive would break down into manageable chunks and settle to the bottom of the work tank, with the inherent risk of building up over time. Eventually, it will need to be removed, either manually or with the use of another automated or semi-automated machine.

There are plenty of options to keep your waterjet running and working efficiently with minimal downtime for tank cleanout and abrasive removal. Here are some of the methods usually employed for this. 

Automatic Abrasive Removal Systems

Automated abrasive removal systems are touted as the latest and most effective way to clean abrasives in a waterjet machine. They are built directly into the system’s tank and thus would automatically keep it clean. It is a simple and fast method that can be programmed to keep the water jet equipment free of spent abrasives. 

Portable Abrasive Extractors

A portable waterjet cleanout device is another excellent option. They are qualified as industrial-grade wet vacuums and are designed to suction up spent abrasive that has settled at the bottom part of the tank. It comes with a long hose and nozzle for this purpose. 

cutting machine

These vacuums can cover a third of what can be done by automatic systems. Another vantage point it can offer is, manufacturing bodies can use it on several of their water jet cutting machines. 

Shoveling Out the Waterjet Tank

Shoveling is our last process on the list, which is a standard procedure for new users of waterjet systems. A method like this involves the removal of abrasives with a backhoe or a shovel. But it is necessary to lock the waterjet first, eliminate the slates and grates, and clear the tank of water for a full tank cleanout work. 

If you’re operating with a backhoe, be extremely careful not to damage the motion components of the machine. If you employ the use of a manual process, the workers will have no other way but to climb themselves into the tank and manually shovel out loads of accumulated abrasives. 

Generally, this is going to be a full-day project if completed manually and thus should not be underestimated in any way. 

Repurpose Used Abrasive

Remember, you can repurpose used abrasive garnet particles for other applications. They can be recycled in a sandblasting procedure or you can have them as a filler in concrete mixtures or as a hardener in cement blocks. 

When trying to shop for a water jet machine for your material cutting concerns, one of the many factors you need to consider is how you can clean out and dispose of used waterjet abrasives. If you come across such an item that offers the greatest convenience in this area, consider it a good deal for purchase. 

WaterJet Cutting Versus Laser Cutting

Waterjet Cutting Machine

Water jet cutting and laser jet cutting are two of the most well known and widely used material cutting methods. With respect to the material in question and the result, you desire to have, one of them is going to be highly appropriate for a given application. Paramount to optimizing the benefits these two material cutting methods can bring lies on how profound we understand their fundamental differences, most especially in terms of the processes involved and the materials they are known to work well with.

Water Jet Cutting Machine

Unlike laser cutters, waterjet cutter machines utilize pressurized water to cut through any given material. In order to further intensify its cutting power, abrasive materials like aluminum oxide and garnets can be added to the pressurized water.

The working idea behind waterjet cutter was inspired by the erosion of soil in nature, just that it is done with so much more intensity and at a higher concentration and speeds. Imagine, an extremely powerful, high-pressure water pump forcing water through rigid hoses. This will result in a strong jet of water. For water jet, It is typical for them to produce an impressive output of 4 to 7 kilowatts of power. The water jet is unlike laser cutters. The source or point of origin of the laser is coming inside the machine itself, the pump and the work area are not together but separate.

Applications and Materials

Water jets are capable of cutting through almost every imaginable material there is, including a combination of 2 or more materials. Even though this method can cut through a wide spectrum of materials, delamination is one of its possible downsides. It can also handle your needs for 3D material cutting. Additionally, the cutting of materials that gives you limited access to the target area is possible but presents great challenge or difficulty.

Water jet technology allows you to carry out structuring, cutting ablation. It lets you handle several materials including ceramics, stone, and even thick metals. Materials with a thickness level of 0.4 to inches can benefit from the use of the water jet method.

LaserJet Cutting

Laser cutting machines solely relies on a gas laser for energy, typically CO2. The CO2 gas is going to be transmitted via a beam, under the guidance of a mirror before it is finally directed at the material.

The source of the CO2 laser is situated inside the machine itself. As for the beam, this can come in the range of 1500 2600 watts of power. If you want to consider the use of laser cutters, applications, materials, safety, and precision are a few of the important factors that you’ll need to take into account.

Applications and Materials

Laser cutters can handle the cutting of a variety of materials. This would include glass, plastic, wood, and all kinds of metals, except for reflective metals. In case that the material is a combination of metals, and have different melting points, it will bring along a certain level of challenge to cut through it.

Sandwich structures that come with cavities may never be completely cut with a CO2 laser. The same is also true for materials that have limited access. As for 3D material cutting, it also presents difficulty in managing due to the rigid beam guidance.

Top 3 Common Misconceptions on CNC Plasma Kits in Australia

Best CNC Cutting Machine

Managers in charged with overseeing CNC plasma kits in Australia manufacturing firms usually started their careers in other areas first. Nothing wrong with that, but they have very limited exposure and experience in the manufacturing space.

Thus, we can’t expect them to always have a profound understanding of what is going on inside the shop. So, when hurdles and challenges come to materialize they either have a hard time finding ways to resolve the issue at hand or grope in the dark.

Let us delve into some of the frustration-causing miscues that can be seen in the vast majority of shop employees and management people.

Learn CNC Programming

Myth 1: Anybody can run a CNC cutting machine

While a significant number of CNC profile cutters we have today were engineered to allow even an average-skilled person with minimal exposure and training in the manufacturing space run and operate such pieces of machines seamlessly, such applications are infrequent.

Truth is, to become a highly qualified CNC operator, you need to know how to carry out many tasks that require skills and need you to have vast knowledge about them, too.  

Such operator task may include cycle monitoring, cycle activation, work piece measurement, statistical process control reporting, work piece loading and unloading, acceptability evaluation, sizing adjustments, and dull-tool replacements.

The higher your expectations are for an operator, the more they need to know. This explains the reason why it is imperative to give them upskill training programs. Find out here.

Myth 2: A project task that was previously run successfully will still run without any problem or friction in the future

If your setup personnel run into a sticky situation in the job, the manager is likely to say, “I thought we had successfully run this job before”.

The presumption here is that since it was witnessed before the job was successfully run in the past, it would flawlessly run successfully again.

However, it must be noted that the manner in which the job was carried out in the past and the way in which it is executed in the present could run the risk of creating a potential problem. It is important to eradicate variations to make it possible to run jobs consistently without having to run into problems.

Myth 3: G-Code Programming is obsolete

G-code programmer
G-Code Programming

Managers are under the impression that when it comes to CNC programming, it can only get done with the use of a company’s dedicated CAM system. It is somehow true. The majority of companies employing CNC technology are also using a CAM system. Or in the absence of which they utilize instead something similar to it in terms of function and usability. 

It is of paramount importance for managers to know that a CAM system’s output is G-code. This is the exact type of G-code which manual programmers write out. It is also the exact G-code program that a CNC machine is capable of executing. 

If in case one of your setup personnel ran across a G-code program that needs changes, it is more convenient to implement required tweaks at the machine level. It is much better that way as opposed to having a  programmer make the required G-code changes under the CAM system. Or restructure the entire G-code program and have the same sent back to the machine. 

When it comes to changing programs at the machine level, it comes to follow that you understand G-code programming to its core.

The Takeaway on CNC Plasma Kits Australia

To become a highly efficient CNC programmer, it is imperative to have an in-depth understanding and knowledge on machine operations, processing, cutting conditions and cutting tools. He also needs to have a good orientation on how setups are made.

It is also expected from a good CNC machine operator to know how to direct operators and setup people. They are the end-users of the program they create.