Cutting metal and acrylic is difficult if you don’t utilize the correct method. In this scenario, the majority of manufacturing companies employ a variety of cutting technologies. One of the most widely used cutting machines in the cutting industry is the water jet cutter.
This post will show you a guide to water jet cutters ultimately. We’ll start with the water jet cutting system’s concept, basic principles, and nozzle structural characteristics. Following that, we’ll go over the classification, application, and benefits in order.
What is Water Jet Cutter
A water jet cutter is a commercial tool that cuts various materials using a high-pressure water jet or a mixture of water and an abrasive substance.
A water-abrasive combination is to cut hard objects like metal, stone, or glass is known as an abrasive jet. The pure water jet and water-only cutting, on the other hand, refer to water jet cutting without abrasives. This process is famous for cutting softer materials like wood or rubber.
Water jet cutting concept
The water jet cutting machine idea is based on high-pressure water or liquid-containing additives to pressurize the supercharger through the water pump. The system then stabilizes the high-pressure liquid flow through the fluid storage accumulator.
Finally, via the nozzle, spray a high-speed liquid at 300 to 900 meters per second onto the workpiece surface for material removal and modification. In today’s industrial sector, two water jet cutting ideas are the most common.
Abrasive jet machining (AWM) is a high-speed jet flow that combines micro-abrasive particles with high-pressure air or other gases. The high-speed impact and erosion of the abrasive via an adequately designed nozzle may remove and alter the material on the workpiece’s surface.
Abrasive water jet machining (AWJ) is a technique that uses water as a medium, generates enormous energy via a high-pressure producing device, and then feeds and mixes liquid-solid two-phase mixed jet with abrasive.
Basic Principle of Water jet
The concept of liquid pressurization is the foundation of the water jet. Through a particular mechanism, the system transforms the mechanical energy of the power source (motor) into pressure energy (booster port or high-pressure pump).
A tiny hole nozzle allows high-pressure water to flow through another energy converter. The pressure energy is then transferred to kinetic energy, resulting in a high-velocity water jet (WJ).
It divides the water cutting into two types: water quality and structural shape. It uses a cutting hole of approximately 0.1 mm to 1.1 mm in pure water cutting. Abrasive cutting, on the other hand, has a cutting slot of roughly 0.8 to 1.8 mm.
There are many types of structural formations, including gantry and cantilever structures with two to three axes. The process utilizes these axes for cutting plates. On the other side, it also primarily operates the robot structure’s five to six CNC axes for cutting interior automobile components and vehicle interior lining, among other things.
Water jet Nozzle
Abrasive is a term describing anything abrasive mixing chamber. The process uses a tube to design a waterjet cutting nozzle to ensure that the system mixes the abrasive properly with the high-pressure water for effective cutting.
The abrasive mixing chamber and tube are likewise absent from waterjet nozzles. In contrast to the abrasive solution, the nozzle shoots high-pressure water to cut considerably softer materials.
Each Techniwater jet nozzle is independently tested at our facility to verify that the nozzle’s configuration and design fit our specifications. This arrangement guarantees long-term usage and effective cutting.
The pump generates water pressure, which flows via high-pressure tubing to the nozzle body. A diamond gem concentrates the orifice on the high-pressure water.
The combination of abrasive and water is supplied via the mixing tube, cutting the material. Depending on the water pressure, abrasive variety, and use, mixing tubes come in various sizes. The narrower the diameter of the mixing tub, similar to the Jewel Office, the smaller the cut width.
Classification of Water Jet
Pure and abrasive waterjets are the two kinds. These two technologies can cut almost any material in any form and thickness.
You can cut Gaskets, foam, plastic, paper, insulation, cement board, and other are all soft materials with a pure waterjet.
Abrasive waterjets, on the other hand, are comparable to pure waterjets. After the machine produces the clean waterjet, it uses a venturi vacuum to draw garnet abrasive into the head combining with the water. Finally, the abrasive waterjet stream created may cut through hard materials such as metal, ceramic, stone, glass, and composite.
Water jet cutter applications
A high-speed, high-kinetic-energy jet is used in high-pressure water jetting (sometimes called high-speed water jet processing). It is a kind of high-energy beam processing that includes lasers, ion beams, and electron beams.
A high-pressure water jet cutter is a revolution in the cutting industry because it is highly innovative and has many applications. It’s a great complement to other cutting techniques now that technology has matured and overcome certain restrictions.
- In the aerospace sector, water jet cutters can cut different alloy materials and novel materials such as carbon fiber composite, plastic glass, etc. It is classified as cold cutting since there is no heat impact, no material degradation, and no post-treatment.
- Water jet cutters are well-known in the automotive sector for cutting non-metal and composite materials. For example, exterior body panels, door frames, and gas boxes, among other things, satisfying the requirements of contemporary car production molds for strong adaptability and flexibility.
- The military industry uses water jet cutters to destroy weaponry and cut combustible and explosive facilities, such as a combat vehicle’s armored plate, bulletproof glass, and turrets.
- Water jet cutters are widely used in machine manufacturing and industry to cut all types of metal, non-metal, brittle plastic materials, and difficult-to-process materials such as marble, ceramics, concrete, floor tiles, and other difficult-to-process materials with high quality, high efficiency, high utilization rate, and other significant advantages.
What materials can a waterjet cutter cut?
Waterjet cutting is a one-of-a-kind, very effective method for producing precise cuts in a variety of materials. It’s a fantastic method to prevent heat damage and distortion while guaranteeing a smooth, clean-cut since there’s no heat involved, although many people connect waterjet cutting with varieties of materials.
A water jet can cut a variety of materials in combination, particularly reinforced polymers. Water jets are an excellent complement to aircraft components and racecars because they can cut carbon fiber-reinforced polymers fast and cleanly.
Steel cutting is one of the most frequent applications for waterjet cutting. Waterjets can cut any steel grade, leaving a clean edge free of burn scars, cracking, extra burr, and a slew of other problems that come with heat-based cutting.
Other common metals
You can also use a water jet cutter to cut metals other than steel. The most frequent metal cut using a water jet is aluminum. Alloys are notoriously tricky to process without causing heat or deformation, yet water jets can precisely cut any alloy.
Water jet cutter is an excellent choice for cutting titanium because of its accuracy, and the use of low-cost metals such as titanium aids this waste reduction. A water jet is also a suitable choice for highly reflective metals, such as copper, since it does not have the same reflectivity issues as laser cutting.
Aside from composites and metals, a water jet can cut almost any material. A water jet can cut both stone and concrete, making it perfect for granite countertops, architectural elements, and marble floors.
If the hardness of the ceramic is less than 8.5 on the Mohs scale, you can slice it using a water jet. Softer materials, such as rubber and wood, may also be cut with a waterjet without the abrasive by utilizing the water-only nozzle.
Advantages of water jet cutter
In the industrial cutting process, the water jet cutter is quite common. Water jet cutters are in great demand in the cutting sector due to their distinct advantages. Let’s have a look at a couple of its applications.
- No other cutting technique comes close to the excellent edge quality that water jet cutting provides. Designers and manufacturers like this technique of cutting because it produces smooth, consistent, burr-free edges.
- Because it is a cold cutting technique, water jet cutting is becoming one of the most cost-effective options on the market. Alternative hot cutting methods run the risk of heat zones forming on their components/fittings, which may cause the parts to distort and become incorrect and useless.
- When creating interior cuts, water jets become the instrument of choice due to their cutting precision of 0.1 to 0.2mm. Water jet cutting makes it simple to create artwork, bespoke patterns, one-of-a-kind designs, and logos. This feature enables your company to offer more outstanding service to its consumers.
- The needle-sharp cutting stream, made up of a combination of water and abrasive solution, cuts through most industrial materials. Material thickness restrictions will be obsolete, as you will be able to cut aluminum, multi-layer materials, composites, and tough steels up to 25mm thick.
- Before introducing water jet cutting, producers had to deal with heat distortion and harsh edges. Cutting techniques that produced a lot of heat were utilized, which caused many difficulties in the workshops.
- Water jet cutting improves operational efficiency since it enables you to cut any material without changing equipment.
Water Jet Cutting Process
Efficient and creative machining businesses utilize waterjet technology to shape and cut different materials using a high-pressure water stream.
Waterjets are quick, precise, and adaptable because of the thin, versatile stream, which allows for clean, exact cuts in various materials without affecting the material’s characteristics or causing a Heat Affected Zone. In the cutting industry, the following four stages of the water jet cutting process are the most frequent.
Overall System setting
Water jets produce components to precise specifications, which necessitates employing a computerized system for following a design. Technicians put a client’s item on a tabletop device under the water jet nozzle. During the cutting process, that material will move to assist a fixed head, or the nozzle itself will move to follow a pattern. Many moving water jet heads utilize Computer-Aided Design software for improved precision.
Water jets utilize water pushed through an aperture to concentrate high pressure over a tiny area. The speed at which the water flows through the opening produces a high-velocity jet. Creating this stream requires two main steps:
Firstly, the intensifier or pressure pump pressurizes water at pressures of up to 60,000 PSI. The water flows into the system via a filter and booster pump.
Secondly, the filtered water passes through the tiny aperture to produce the cutting stream. Direct drive or intensifier pumps may provide the high pressure needed for cutting.
The cutting stream may travel at a rate of Mach 3 – three times the speed of sound – depending on the water pressure. This technique applies to both pure and abrasive jets.
While pure waterjets utilize the stream of water, leaving the nozzle to cut through materials like foam, fiberglass, or soft rubber, they’re not feasible for cutting more complicated materials. An abrasive jet operates like a pure waterjet, except when the stream of water exits the orifice, an abrasive substance such as garnet mixes with the stream.
The water beam accelerates the abrasive particles to high enough to cut through considerably more stiff materials. The resultant jet passes through a “mixing” or “focusing” tube to produce a much more robust cutting action.
Once the component design is incorporated into the waterjet cutting machine via CAD, the device may program tool paths that map out the cutting process. The remaining energy from the cutting stream dissipates into a catcher tank following the cut, which holds wasted abrasive and kerf material.
Pure Water Jet Vs. Abrasive Waterjet
Abrasive water jet cutting utilizes an abrasive material (e.g., garnet) added to high-pressure water to cut through hardened steel. It introduces the abrasive particle to the water in the nozzle of a water jet cutting machine. In this process, it is the abrasive particle that performs the job of cutting the material. The function of the water is to accelerate the abrasive particle up to a speed sufficient for cutting and guide the particles to the desired cutting spot.
Cutting effectiveness may be increased by raising the water pressure. Therefore speeding the water and particles faster, or increasing the flow rate of water and particles, thus increasing the impact of particles on the material. Abrasive water jet cutting is perfect for harder or denser metals, stones, or thick plastics.
Pure water jet cutting is a phrase used to describe the process of water jet cutting without abrasive particles. In this instance, it is the pressure and speed of the water itself which penetrates the material. Pure water jet cutting is excellent for softer materials like textiles, rubber, or metal foils.
One important use for pure water cutting is in food processing, where stringent health standards regulating the sector may be fulfilled using pure water without abrasive chemicals.
You must observe the safety guidelines while installing, using, or servicing the device. If neglected, death or bodily harm may ensue, or damage may occur to the equipment. Always follow relevant safety measures while working with this device.
1. Keep your hands and fingers away from the jet.
2. Introduce yourself to the motion controls
3. If you are getting ready to operate with a water jet cutter, be sure your surroundings support what you are doing.
The water jet cutting process may be a pleasant task, but it can cost if you are not cautious. Always do your research before using new equipment, and make sure you are following the proper water jet safety measures at all times.