Waterjet cutting makes use of a high pressure, (around 2000 – 6000 bars) thin water stream travelling at a very fast speed to erode away the material that is being cut. Pure waterjet cutters make use of only water for cutting and are used to cut softer materials like foam, while abrasive waterjet cutters add an abrasive material to the water that enables cutting harder materials such as ceramics and metals. Many models of waterjets are available where the head is submerged within a water table and this helps to reduce the noise produced when cutting.
Advantages of Waterjet Cutting
One of the major advantages of waterjet cutting is the ability to cut almost any type of material. The second advantage is that the area next to the cut is not superheated and the material is not distorted as in the case of plasma cutting. This is very important as many metals can be weakened because of additional heat.
In fact, waterjet cutting is regarded as “green” technology. Waterjet cutting does not produce any hazardous waste and this helps to reduce the cost of waste disposal. Waterjet cutting can cut large portions of scrap material that can be reused, which are usually lost when traditional cutting methods are employed.
The material usage can be maximised by nesting the parts very closely. Also, the material is saved when using waterjet cutting as very little kerf is created. Very little water is used in the case of waterjet cutting and the water that is utilised can be recycled by making use of a close-looped arrangement.
Usually, the abrasive that is used in the waterjet is a natural, non-toxic material which can be recycled and used repeatedly. The process of waterjet cutting also eliminates smoke, contaminants, fumes and airborne particles when cutting materials like fiberglass and asbestos.
The waterjet cutting process is fairly accurate except if you need most accurate and high-precision cuts. Nevertheless, the cost of waterjet cutters and the maintenance costs are quite low.
Disadvantages of Waterjet Cutting
While waterjet cutting has many benefits, there are some disadvantages too. Waterjet cutting is comparatively slower than plasma cutting. This reduces the processing productivity. Also, the initial setup and installation cost of waterjet cutting systems is higher than plasma systems and the abrasive material used by the waterjet technology is expensive too.
Thus, while the process of cutting metals and other hard materials with waterjet is a slower process compared to other methods of cutting, the cutting is very accurate and precise, thus waterjet cutting is slowly becoming a widespread and popular technique of cutting.
Escco can provide you with a range of cutting tables including plasma and waterjet. If you’re unsure which is better for you, why not get in contact with us today for an informal chat. We’re here to help.