There are numerous options to cut foam since it is a very soft material. However, its soft and delicate nature can be a challenge, as many cutting processes often lead to the burning of foam.
A waterjet machine turns out to be the most applicable foam-cutting process. Waterjet cutters are simple and easy to use and have replaced traditional methods such as physical blade cutting or die cutting.
In this article, we will discuss waterjet cutting foam, its benefits, and its applications. You will also learn how to choose waterjet cutting foam equipment for optimal results.
Can You Cut Foam With a Waterjet Cutter?
Yes, it is possible and easy to cut foam with a waterjet cutter. Hard materials like metals, composites, plastics, and alloys usually require the addition of an abrasive in the high-pressure water jet stream to achieve optimal cutting. However, most foam products are soft materials and do not require abrasive waterjet cutting. Any foam thickness can be cut using a pure waterjet cutter.
Here are some of the different types of foam that you can cut with the water jet cutting foam process:
- Charcoal foam
- Closed cell foam
- Dry fast foam
- High-density foam
- High resilience foam
- Rebond foam
- Memory foam
- Polyurethane foam
- Latex Foam
- Lux Foam
- Ether foam
- Scrubber foams
What are the Benefits of Using Waterjet Foam Cutting?
There are many advantages of using waterjet foam cutting technology. Some of these include:
Cold Cutting Process
Waterjet cutting is a cold-cutting process unlike any other method used to cut foam items. There are no heat-affected zones in waterjet cutting foam, so the foam does not suffer any burn marks or other irregularities. On the other hand, physical blade cutters generate heat which causes the foam to get burn marks, along with other heat-related effects such as the release of toxic fumes.
No Maximum Thickness
Another major advantage to waterjet foam cutting is that there is no limit to the thickness of foam that you can cut with it. Typically, a pure waterjet can cut through 18-inch-thick foam with ease and an even greater variety of foam thicknesses with increased cutting time. This is more than sufficient for any foam-cutting application.
Regardless of the density of foam items, there is no requirement to add abrasive in the water jet. The main cost in the waterjet cutting process is that of the abrasive material. Due to the absence of abrasive, waterjet foam cutting is cheap when you compare it to other alternatives.
When waterjet cutting foam, it is possible to stack multiple layers of foam on top of each other and cut them simultaneously. This leads to significantly faster production and reduced costs. Additionally, all the cutouts are highly consistent and identical to each other, increasing product quality.
Waterjet cutting is one of the most precise cutting methods out there. The cutting head tolerances (deviation from the ideal cut) in waterjet cutting are low, leading to highly accurate cutting. This is quite beneficial since the cut foam can be used in secondary applications without any further modifications to its size.
Waterjet cutting foam produces a very smooth edge quality because of the extreme force of the ultra-high-pressure water. The smooth edge eliminates any need for additional processing to enhance its finish. This leads to further cost savings.
Dust Free Cutting
The removal of material during cutting generates material dust, which is detrimental to the workspace. However, in waterjet cutting foam, the foam dust gets carried away in the water jet. This feature is not present in any other foam-cutting process.
The water jet cutting foam process is green and environmentally friendly. No toxic gases or hazardous waste are released in the process, and there is no heat buildup. It just uses water, which is recycled and used again for the next operation.
Applications of Water Jet Cutting of Foam
There are many areas where a water jet’s foam-cutting capabilities are applied to cut a variety of materials. Some of these are:
- Insulators: Multiple foam layers can be cut to produce insulating materials used in electricity generation and propagation.
- Upholstery: It is common to see foam materials in furniture cushioning for couches and chairs.
- Toys: The foam manufacturing process for toys uses waterjet cutting to maintain high-grade quality.
- Pillows: Foam pieces for pillows are produced by a water jet cutting through various thicknesses and densities of foam sheets.
- Shoes: Foam inserts are used for shoe padding that provides comfort to the feet.
How to Choose a Water Jet Cutter for Cutting Foam?
While cutting foam with water jets is easy, there are still some things to consider before purchasing a water jet cutter. Water jet cutters are a significant investment, so you don’t want to make a poor choice that leads to production downtime.
Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing a water jet cutter:
Pump Pressure: If you only intend to use the machine for water jet foam cutting fabrications, you don’t need high water pressure cutting machines. A moderate-pressure pump will be enough for foam water jet cutting. This will save a lot on costs because the equipment price depends mainly on the pump capacity.
Build Quality: Many users fall into the trap of buying a cheap waterjet machine that has compromised build quality. A poor-quality machine might break down soon into operations, leading to significant repair costs and lost production time. Therefore, spending slightly more on a higher build quality machine is the best way to avoid such problems.
Spare Part Availability: Choose a brand that can provide spare parts for their machines whenever required. If opting for an unknown overseas brand, you should be ready to wait for weeks and even months till the spare parts reach you. The best way to avoid this issue is to invest in a brand that guarantees spare part availability.
Features: Water-cutting foam does not require any abrasive. So when choosing the machine, focus on relevant features that you will need and ignore the irrelevant abrasive-related features. Some important things to focus on are the software that comes with the machine and the ability to customize cut shapes.
Recommended Water Jet Foam Cutting Machine
Techni Waterjet cutters are superior foam cutting machines when you evaluate them on all the parameters that matter. It is a reputed brand and provides high-build quality machines to many different manufacturing sectors.
Whether you want to cut foam or hard metal, these machines can take everything you throw at them. They come with complimentary software that has a lot of preloaded cut shapes. There is also the ability to customize the cutting shape as required. Additionally, spare parts are readily available and shipped to your doorstep whenever you need them.
Using a waterjet is the best method for cutting anything foam related, from small pieces of foam to very thick sheets, from polyester foam to polyurethane foam, and everything else. A Techni Waterjet cutter will do the job for you.
To get the best results, make an informed decision during the machine-buying process. Operating a waterjet cutter is easy, and these machines will last you for a lifetime. You will get excellent results by investing in quality instead of spending on unnecessary features.