Water Jet Cutting
Water jet cutting is an upcoming technology that was first introduced in the 1980s. The method offers very fast material rates, an output that is near net shape, products that are free from burrs and distortion, cut edges with a smooth finish, and products that are free from oxidation and other scalings. The process is used to cut various items such as: stone, metal, glass, plastics, composite, ceramic, rubber, paper, foam, and even food. These items can be cut into any shape and with great detail. Water jet cutting is now one of the fastest growing machine tool processes around the globe.
The process of water jet cutting involves the use of a jet of water that is under a pressure of 60,000+ pounds per square inch (PSI) or higher. Tiny abrasive garnet grits are added to the system to create an abrasive water jet which is used to cut the harder surfaced materials such as metal and stone etc. The unit has an internal pump that pressurizes the water and forces it out through a tiny outlet in a strong and steady flow. The resulting high pressure combined with the abrasives, can produce very fine and clean cut.
This process can compliment similar technologies like EDM and laser cutting. The cutting doesn’t create any noxious gases and liquids and doesn’t produce any hazardous materials.
Because the water jet has the ability to cut everything so smoothly it eliminates the need for any deburring and secondary finishing. Water jet cutting doesn’t really take too long to master as there is little time needed for the setup and fixturing and no hard tooling is required because of robotic motion systems.
Multiple parts can be clamped together to maximize the production rates. Jet cutting is commonly used in industries such as: tool and die making, aviation industry, and metal workshops, etc. The process is especially useful in cutting heat sensitive components that are made of plastic or that feature thin wall sections. The process of water jet cutting claims to have an accuracy range of +/- 0.003 inches to +/- 0.0005 inches.