What are the advantages of using a waterjet cutting system?
These benefits have driven the widespread adoption of waterjet cutting technology. Its versatility, quick setup, easy operation and high-quality part production make it ideal for any manufacturing organization looking to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
The process generates virtually no heat, so the material is never changed.
From cutting whisper-tiny parts in stone, glass and metal to cutting food or thick titanium, waterjets can do things no other technology can.
Waterjet cutting will not cause warpage on the target material.
Water jets typically only change the cutting speed from one material to another, and the cutting force is very low, resulting in very short part-to-part times.
No toxic gases or liquids are used in water jet cutting, and no harmful substances or vapors are produced by the water jet.
While the decision to incorporate the waterjet process into your operation is clear, choosing the right machine configuration requires some evaluation. You need to assess the needs of your business and client base and strike a balance between practical issues such as space, staff capacity and budget. The first step in determining the right waterjet is to define the material you want to use or plan to use in your operation. In terms of materials, the main considerations are: current and potential future material types, material inventory size, material thickness and part shape (flat, beveled or 3D).
A good place to start is to determine which material you use 80% of the time. Mild steel may be more typical for many workshop contract cutters, but cutting less common materials such as titanium, glass, steel alloys or stone can really make the waterjet process shine and achieve higher Profitability, the versatility of the waterjet is key. The ability to use the same equipment for all materials greatly increases machine utilization and improves return on investment.
Material size and thickness
The size and thickness of the material to be cut determines the power and number of cutting heads, pump requirements, and the size of the work bed required. Thin sheet metal, especially 8-12 gauge, can often be stacked less than .25" (<6 mm) thick and cut with a water jet to increase yield and profit. The optimal thickness for stacked sheets is about 0.6 inches (15 mm), regardless of sheet thickness.
If thin material cannot be stacked due to small batches, efficiency can be increased by passing the power through two cutting heads with smaller nozzles. With thin materials, you don't need larger nozzles because surprisingly they don't cut much faster than smaller nozzles. However, for thicker materials over .25" (6mm), using a larger single head and increasing horsepower will increase cutting speed proportionally. The size of the work bed or material support collector should be large enough to accommodate the largest sheets or boards you typically cut. The occasional oversized piece of material doesn't justify a bulky and expensive machine, since you can hang the larger piece at the end of the catcher. Although not the best option, it is a more cost-effective solution.