Waterjet cutting is simply the cutting of materials with the use of a jet of water. It can involve either just water, or water with an abrasive for harder and denser materials, such as steel. Pressurized water - about 40,000 to 60,000 PSI (pounds per square inch)- is pushed out of a precision opening, also known as jewel, and the result is a highly defined stream of water. Just to give you an idea, water pressure in a regular home is around 60 PSI.
Whether you are new to waterjet cutting technology at flowwaterjet.com or you have applied it to your manufacturing processes, knowing its advantages over other cutting technologies is always worthwhile, if not necessary.
No Material Restrictions
Water jet cutting can be used for a whole variety of materials, such as plastics, metals, rocks, rubber, glass and practically everything else. When a granular abrasive is added to water, a waterjet cutting machine can cut smoothly into materials with a maximum thickness of 200 mm.
No Heat Concerns
A large advantage of waterjet cutting is that because the method is essentially cold cutting, you have no heat affected zone (HAZ) concerns to deal with, which can really be a huge factor. Not only does cold cutting produce perfectly clean cuts, but it is much safer for the operator as well, as the risk of burns no longer exists.
With its cold cutting technique, materials will obviously not be exposed to heat, which could otherwise cause distortions as seen in most other heat-dependent cutting projects. In short, the cut you get is nothing short of smooth and burr-free. Be sure to watch this video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FN5xzeVluc for more info about water jet.
No Extra Finishing
The high cutting quality of waterjet technology assures you of a precise result, negating the need for any more additional finishing. Waterjet technology can create parts with very tight tolerances (average tolerance is about 0.004 of an inch). If a material is thicker than an inch, the machines will churn up +/- 0.005 to 0.100 inch-thick parts. Tolerances differ considerably from one manufacturer to another mainly due to variations in technology and in terms of machine construction.
Zero Hazardous Waste
The rising importance of using environment-friendly processes in every kind of industry cannot be ignored. A huge advantage offered by waterjet cutting is that it leaves no hazardous waste, whether fumes or gases or whatever, unlike other cutting methods.
Reduced Labour Costs
Waterjet cutting machines are generally used to cut through thick, hard materials, and it often takes long, long hours for the process to be completed. This couldn’t make them more ideal for so-called “lights-out” operations. But problems can still occur, such as a damaged orifice, a blocked focusing tube, etc. But this has ceased to be a problem, with modern waterjet manufacturers making machines that could be set to send alerts to the operator in case there are issues. So “lights-out” operation is now perfectly feasible, allowing cutting costs to be reduced by a wide margin.