Water jet cutting

water jet cutting machines together with abrasives. They are precision industrial CNC machines. to

What is

Probably one of the most amazing cutting procedures that exist. And it is due to its simplicity, but its extreme power. As its name suggests, only water is used to cut all kinds of materials, even metals.

As in plasma cutting those plasma jets are used for cutting, in this case they are used very high pressure water jets for cutting. At this pressure and speed, the water molecules are projectiles that impact and easily pass through the material to be cut.

Unlike oxicorte, which was aimed at ferrous metals, or the plasma cutting for metal, in the case of water cutting the can cut many other materials. For example, meat, wood, metal, plastics, or various multi-layer materials. That makes it extremely flexible, as well as being simple and inexpensive.

How does it work

explanation of how water cutting works

Water cutting machines propel a jet of water through a head at very high pressure. For fully mechanical process the material will be cut. To make this possible, even if it seems very simple, you need:

  • Water source- A tank or fountain will be needed to supply the water needed for cutting.
  • Pressure generator: It is a key part of the machinery for water cutting. It is basically an ultra-high pressure pump that generates a flow of water with pressures that can reach 6500 Bar. That is much more powerful than a fire hose.
  • Extruder nozzle: I have named the element that allows to transform all that immense pressure into the speed of the water, since so much pressure if you do not really accelerate the jet would not be of much use. For this reason, it is passed through a small hole (like human hair) in a gemstone to project a very fine stream at a very high speed that it can cut. To give you an idea, they usually reach up to 4 times the speed of sound (1235.5 km / h), that is, they can reach 4 Mach, like some fighter planes ...
  • Abrasive injector: Although abrasive is not always used, there are cutting processes that do not only use pure water, but rather introduce an abrasive element that is dragged by the water jet to generate greater wear on the surface that is attacked. Water traveling at supersonic speeds will carry the abrasive and allow cutting much harder parts. Imagine if with a simple garden hose plugging the end to get more pressure, or with a pressure washer it hurts, if you have those speeds and an abrasive that acts like real projectiles, what can be done. For example, with abrasive, a water cutting machine can cut a 30 cm thick steel beam.
  • Cutting table: is the place where the pieces to be cut are positioned. It usually has a sink underneath that collects the water after cutting and usually leads it to a purification system to use it again.

Impressive, which is why it is one of the most amazing cutting procedures. Depending on whether it is used pure water jet or with abrasive, you can find cutters suitable for:

  • Pure water- Cut soft materials such as foams, plastics, paper, insulation layers, cement board, carpet, food, etc.
  • Water with abrasive: allows the cutting of hard materials such as metals, ceramics, stone, glass, and other hard compounds.

When to use cutting machines

The water cutting machines They are not usually handled completely manually due to the danger due to the high pressure and speed of the jet. For this reason, they are usually guided heads or robots that operate on the piece to be cut.

The first thing that is done is to design by a computer the shape of the pieces or the lines that you want to make using a CAD software /CAMo CNC CNC respectively. Then, with the pattern, the water cutting machine is programmed so that it knows where to cut the piece.

From own cutting machine, you can position the part in the proper cutting location and operate the machine to start the cutting procedure. In general, the machine itself can select the hardness of the material itself and other characteristics, so that the machine can adapt the speed and power.

Generally, if the part has been well positioned and fixed, wait for the cut to be made to be able to remove the parts. In rare cases, the procedure must be stopped to readjust or re-anchor the parts.

At all times they must respect the safety rules of these machines, since although it seems something as harmless as water, you already know that it can even cut steel, so it could perfectly cut any member.

Advantages and disadvantages

Like any procedure or system, it has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, you have to evaluate all of them and determine if it fits the needs or the objective you are looking for for your workshop or factory. Between the and advantages The most prominent of the waterjet cutting are:

  • It's a cold process, so if you have a material that is affected by temperature or deforms, it will be an ideal cutting procedure.
  • Does not generate pollution due to the burning of gases or toxic residues, since it simply uses water, and in some cases an abrasive that is also harmless.
  • Being programmed machines, cutting any operator can do it or engineer, since you will not need specific preparation to operate the machine, as occurs with the oxyfuel or plasma, who should have basic training or instructions to begin to handle these tools manually.
  • Can cut any type of material, compared to oxyfuel or plasma cutting is not limited to metals. It can cut wood, meat, fabric, metal, or anything.
  • The thicknesses that you can cut are very high, even more than laser tools.

As for the the disadvantages, the water cut has:

  • Although it can cut high thicknesses, it has its bounds.
  • It's a slow cut if we compare it with other cutting procedures, such as plasma.
  • La machinery is quite expensive compared to plasma and flame cutting, although it is cheaper than laser. However, it is true that water is not an expensive or rare element.
  • Water cutting machines are more big. Therefore, they will need more space in the workshop or industrial warehouse. The size of the pump and other elements make it have these dimensions.
  • Consume enough electrical power for water compression.

Waterjet cutting machines

The water jet cutting machines they are quite large and expensive. On the one hand you have the machine or system itself, and on the other the pump and the software.

As to softwareSome of the machines have their own specific software to be able to manage them, others admit more generic software that can be used for different models. For example, some computer programs for these machines are Intelli-MAX,

As for the pumps, each water cutting machine manufacturer or supplier has its own products. It is a vital part, since the pressure reached by the water will depend on it and also energy efficiency, since it is the element that consumes the most energy.

Some examples of these machines are:

  • TCI Cutting WaterJet: They have various series, such as BP-C, BP-S, BP-M and BP-H, SM-C, SM-S and SM-M. They are bridge-type high pressure water cutting machines, with great stability, strength, flexibility, and performance.
  • Prussiani Engineering: the waterjet of this firm are water cutting tools with high precision for any type of material. They have their specific software called WJ CAM and they have 3 or 5 axes of freedom in the cutting head. For example, you have the NEW RIO 3 and NEW RIO 5 models, but they also allow you to customize machines.
  • OMAX: is another of the world leaders offering various types of high-performance cutting machines. Among its outstanding models are the globalMAX, the larger MAXIEM series, or the compact ProtoMAX for making cuts in small pieces ...

If you need more information about prices and where to buy them, please contact us.