Explaining Waterjet Cutters and their Benefits

Waterjet cuttersWaterjet cuttersare an approach to precision cutting that use an extremely powerful stream of water to cut a vast range of materials. It is an ideal technique when the task requires any cutting, shaping, reaming, carving, or even composite cutting.
In the 1960's, waterjet cutters were mainly used for mining. Today the devices are used to cut several, diverse materials including:
  • Marble
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Stainless steel
  • Ceramics
  • Granite
  • Titanium
  • Stone
  • Wood
  • Armour plate
  • Inconel
  • Aluminum
  • Tool steel
  • Bullet proof glass
There are two main types of waterjet cutters, both of which come in CNC (computer numerical control) forms.
The pure waterjet machines use highly pressurized, and extremely quick flowing water to cut through material. It is better suited for softer materials like rubber, foam, plastic, and even food products.
Waterjet cutters called abrasive waterjets use a combination of water and an abrasive solution to cut harder materials like ceramics, steel, and granite. The abrasive substance are often garnet or aluminum oxide. Other waterjet cutters include percussive waterjets, cavitation jets, and hybrid jets.
This particular approach to profile cutting is employed by an assortment of industries. This includes anything and everything from building and construction, to architecture and design, to the manufacturing of plastics, glass, and metals. Surprisingly, waterjet cutters also play a role in the manufacturing of items like diapers and candy bars, due to the ability to work with softer materials.
Waterjet solutions and cutting devices have countless benefits over other cutting options such as plasma cutting and laser cutting, since waterjet machines do not use heat to cut materials or produce any hazardous waste.
Benefits of Waterjet Cutting
Since waterjet cutters do not require heat to operate, the usual issue of a heat affected zone, or HAZ, becomes a non-issue. HAZ's are undesired as it causes problems to the integral structure of the workpiece, leading to problems of strength and safety. Strength and safety of these materials are crucial as they are often used to manufacture products that aid in the production of cars, air plans, bridges, and buildings.
Another advantage of waterjet cutters is that the devices are considered to be eco-friendly, or "green” technologies.
Waterjet cutters create no hazardous waste and require a minimal amount of water, approximately half a gallon per minute. Furthermore, the water used in closed-loop devices may be recycled for use.
Even mixed abrasive waterjets are considered green technologies. The abrasive solutions can also be recycled as they are nontoxic, natural materials. Pure water and abrasive water solutions are often safe enough to filter and pour down a drain pipe. Additionally, surrounding airborne dust particles are removed by the waterjets, therefore creating a healthier environment for the operator. Such particles include:
  • Dust
  • Smoke
  • Fumes
  • Asbestos
  • Fiberglass
Other benefits of waterjet cutting devices are:
  • The ability to cut both soft and hard materials
  • The ability to cut fully through materials up to 18 inches thick
  • Ideal for cutting composites
  • Ideal for multi-axis cutting, and producing 3D shapes
  • No issues of dullness
Waterjet cutting is a forward approach to precision cutting methods, as it is the only environmentally conscious technique currently available. In addition to being eco-friendly, waterjet cutters are flexible in that they work with numerous materials, and are capable of producing a variety of cuts. As a result of all its benefits, waterjet cutters are highly sought after approaches within the precision cutting industry.
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