The concept of waterjet cutting has been around since the 1950’s when it was first conceptualized by Dr. Norman Franz. While originally utilized to help engineers cut lumber, waterjet cutting is now an effective method for cutting almost any flat material, including stainless steel and aluminum.
Waterjet cutting uses high-pressure water streams to cut or clean objects and materials. Oftentimes, the cutter is connected to a high-pressure water pump with water being ejected from a nozzle, which then cuts directly through the material. In order to help the cutting process, abrasives may be added.
There are several different advantages to using water when cutting stainless steel or aluminum.
1. The Power of Waterjets. At first glance, many do not expect water to be a powerful cutting tool but wateriest have the capacity to cut through eight-inch stainless steel plates and ten-inch aluminum plates.
2. No Heat is Necessary Waterjet cutting is the preferred method for those materials that are sensitive to higher temperatures that are often created when using alternative methods. Waterjet cutting has a no heat-affected zone (HAZ) that prevents alterations and damage to the surface of the materials being cut.
3. Waterjet cutting is considered to be one of the most effective methods in relation to precision when cutting. Waterjets are extremely precise and have the ability to have 0.005″ of accuracy when cutting. Not only do waterjets have a high level of precision when cutting aluminum and steel but it also provides a burr-free finish. The waterjets eliminate the need for a secondary surface finishing process and allows for expenses to be spared.
4.Speed There isn’t much labor needed to use the waterjet. The entire cutting process is significantly faster than other cutting methods. Re-cutting isn’t necessary because waterjets have such precision with cutting materials.
5. Waterjets are environmentally friendly The waterjet cutting process is considered to be one of the more environmentally friendly of all the methods. No hazardous waste is produce during the process of cutting materials. Waterjets also prevent unnecessary waste that occurs during traditional cutting methods.
There are several environmental advantages when choosing waterjets to cut your materials. Waterjets use very little water. Almost one half to one gallon of water will be used per minute, depending on the cutting head orifice size. By using a closed-looped system, the water used can be reused. Waste water is often clean enough to filter and dispose of through a drain.
7. The waterjets create a safer work environment Airborne dust, smoke, fumes, and contaminants are avoided through the use of waterjet cutting. The elimination of exposure to these allows for improvements in the work environment and reduces problems that may arise from machinist exposure.