Waterjet cutting and its advantages
Waterjet cutting is the process of cutting materials by using a high pressure stream of water. For very hard materials, a granular abrasive is added to the water stream to increase the cutting power. Virtually any material can be cut using waterjet machines including plastics, metals (like steels, alloys, titanium, and copper), rubber, glass, concrete, ceramics, and stone.
The main components of a waterjet cutting machine are:
- A high pressure pump that raises the pressure of the water to about 4000 bar.
- The cutting head which directs the flow of water into a highly focused beam for accurate cutting. If required, an abrasive mixing tube forms part of the cutting head to mix the abrasive with the water.
- Cutting tables that control the position of the cutting head for accurate cuts.
- A control system that can be pre-programmed to perform the cut automatically.
Waterjet cutting is used in industries like aerospace and automotive shops for efficient cutting and shaping of component parts. A major advantage over other cutting techniques is the fact that the cut is performed in cold conditions, thus eliminating heat damage like melting or cracking and heat stresses like hardening or warping. The high quality finish reduces the need for further processing steps and the absence of heat and dust keeps the workplace safe and environmentally friendly.