Based on the concept of a high-pressure water system designed for cutting a wide range of materials, a waterjet is a flexible tool for fabricators. The machine is useful for cutting hard materials like steel or soft materials such as foam. Here are other key advantages to using a waterjet cutting machine.
Evolution of Waterjet Cutting
A waterjet consists of a high-pressure water pump that manipulates an articulated cutting head, controlled by a computer program. A nozzle moves with the material as it is cut and a stream of water bends with the direction of the cut. Newer simplified pumps with a crankshaft are considered much more efficient than more traditional hydraulic intensifier pumps.
Hydraulic machines with steam engines began to appear in the early nineteenth century. The idea of using water for cutting has been around since the Great Depression era. Early devices relied on low-pressure water, then high-pressure water systems became common in the post-war period. By the 1970’s ultra-high pressure water pumps yielded highly reliable waterjet cutters. The result has been faster and more precise cutting.
The high velocity of water pressure makes it possible for the tool to slice into metal and other hard surfaces. Abrasives were added to water in the 1930s to help speed up the process, which ushered in the waterjet era. When abrasives are not used the process is considered to be “pure waterjet.”
The waterjet is now used to make sophisticated tools for various industries including aerospace and automotive. It can also be used to carve designs on materials as solid as titanium. By the 1990s waterjets became common among fabrication shops, due to their high output ability. Flow International, which licenses OMAX software, has become the largest manufacturer of waterjet machines. The company has helped simplify the manufacturing process with its user-friendly cutting machines.
Quick and Accurate Cutting
Waterjet cutting is favored by fabricators because of their versatility and ability to cut various materials quickly. Since the technology encompasses reliable pumps and nozzles, it can be used to cut almost any material quickly. Waterjets are considered the fastest cutting devices in the world and help speed up the manufacturing process.
One of the most important reasons to choose a waterjet cutter is that it cuts material without affecting its structure, since it doesn’t produce a “heat affected zone.” The fact that just about any type of material including metal is unaffected by heat gives the machine an all-purpose utility. The device is used by meatcutters, miners and aircraft manufacturers. The waterjet cutting process contributes to efficiency by limiting waste. Curves can be cut so precisely that less scrap material will be left behind.
Not only can a waterjet cut through leather or rubber, it can cut through stone or granite. It’s an effective tool for cutting through any surface, making it useful for designing machine parts. Contact us at Serra Laser for more information about waterjets and the most efficient methods for laser cutting.