Waterjet cutting has completely transformed the manufacturing industry. Parts that used to require multiple machines and people to cut can now be cut with a single machine without any human labor. Additionally, waterjet’s cutting quality and precision are next to none.
This article will have an in-depth exploration of waterjet technology for the manufacturing sector. You will know its benefits, possible limitations, and how to use it for your industry.
Overview of Waterjet Cutting
Waterjet cutting means using a high-pressure water stream to cut through a material. The water pressure is created by a high-pressure pump connected to the waterjet table. The force of this pressurized water is so high that it can pierce through any material out there. Sometimes, abrasives are added to speed up the waterjet cutting process for materials like metals and alloys. The method is then called abrasive waterjet cutting.
Water jet technology has become an integral part of many manufacturing sectors. Some of the industries that use this process are the aerospace industry, military, aircraft, medical industry, automotive, etc.
How is Waterjet Technology Used in Manufacturing?
Waterjet cutting is used in every facet of the manufacturing industry. This technology helps manufacturers in the research and development of new products. The raw materials for making the prototypes and final parts are processed with a waterjet cutter. These machines can even meet the requirements of a large-scale production model.
What Materials Can a Waterjet Cut?
Waterjet cutters can cut through virtually any material. There are only two exceptions to this rule. Firstly, waterjet cutters cannot pierce diamonds. Diamond are the hardest material, so no abrasive can pierce through it. Secondly, waterjet cutters cannot cut tempered glass. This is because tempered glass shatters on impact. Therefore, tempered glass becomes unusable when punctured with a water jet.
Some of the materials that waterjet cutters cut in the manufacturing industries are:
Stainless steel is a common material that uses waterjet cutting. Waterjet can cut extremely thin sheets and thick blocks of steel with ease. It is usual for industrial waterjet cutters to cut steel blocks up to 18 inches in thickness. Waterjet-cut steel is used in almost every industry in the manufacturing sector.
Titanium is a very strong material used in applications that require ruggedness. Traditional cutting methods don’t work well for titanium as the cutting tools wear out faster. Waterjet technology is ideal for titanium cutting. Waterjet-cut titanium is common in the aerospace industry, military applications, electronics, and many other areas.
Plastics are the most used materials in the manufacturing of common user products. Waterjet cutting services are suitable for plastics due to their cold-cutting nature. Alternative cutting processes heat the plastics, releasing toxic fumes and causing deformations. Alternatives like laser cutting create poisonous gases when cutting plastics and rubber compounds.
Waterjet can cut wood in any intricate shape and pattern. Unlike other cutting processes, waterjet cut wood does not splinter and cover the workplace in sawdust. Waterjet cut wood is widely used in furniture manufacturing, interior decor, and construction.
Glass is tricky to cut with most cutting processes due to its delicate nature. Waterjet cutting is the best way to cut glass since it handles the process without errors. Waterjet-cut glass has a smooth edge without any unsafe sharp corners.
Rubber is very sensitive to heat and small temperature changes can harden it. Therefore, waterjet cutting is used to make rubber components in manufacturing industries. For instance, seals and gaskets can be crafted using water jet cutting technology.
Ceramics are highly brittle and crack easily upon cutting with physical tools. However, waterjet has a narrow beam so it pierces through ceramics easily. Waterjet-cut ceramics are used for manufacturing insulators, art pieces, and many other things.
Applications of Waterjet Cutting in the Manufacturing Sector
Waterjet cutting is used for manufacturing a wide range of components. Some common parts that are made with waterjet cutting are:
- Manufacturing aircraft components such as landing gear, turbine blades, brakes, wings, etc.
- Manufacturing automotive components like body parts, interiors, dashboard, hinges, latches, spoilers, bumpers, gears, bearings, seals, and gaskets.
- Water jet cutting manufactures surgical blades, clips, prosthetics, implants, cannula parts, and more in the healthcare industry.
- Waterjet cuts thick reams of paper for the paper industry
- It is used for cutting logos and letters for signage.
- Waterjet-cut granite, marble, and stone is used for kitchen countertops.
- It cuts various cloths and leather in the textile industry.
- Defense components such as firearms, vehicles, armor plates, kevlar, and other equipment are cut using a waterjet machine.
- Waterjet is integral for manufacturing aerospace parts.
- Food manufacturing and processing uses waterjet extensively. Waterjet is a great way to ensure food hygiene isn’t compromised.
Benefits of Using Waterjet Cutting for Manufacturing
There are many advantages of using water jet cutting for manufacturing compared to other alternatives like laser cutting. Some of the benefits of waterjet technology are:
- Cold Cutting Process: Waterjet is a cold-cutting technology. It does not create any thermal distortion in the parts being cut. This preserves the material integrity and ensures the component performs as intended.
- Precise Cutting: Waterjet cutting is extremely accurate. Parts cut with a waterjet machine can be used as-is without requiring any secondary grinding or filing.
- High Quality: Waterjet is a high-quality cutting method. The edges are smooth and the corners can be rounded. Poor quality edges are one of the major drawbacks of blade cutters.
- Versatility: Waterjet cutting works on any material. This includes metals, non-metals, plastics, wood, fibers, and many others. The high versatility means that a single waterjet machine can be used for numerous applications without changing the equipment.
- Cutting Thickness: It is possible to cut up to 24″ of most materials with waterjet cutters. This maximum thickness goes even further for softer materials.
- Productivity: Due to a high maximum cutting thickness, it is possible to stack multiple sheets and cut them together. This increases the productivity of the operation significantly.
- Cost Effective: Due to the high productivity and high speed, waterjet cutting turns out to be the most cost-effective proper cutting option for industrial manufacturing needs.
- Scalability: There is a high degree of scalability in waterjet cutting solutions. You can use it to manufacture anything from a small blade to large aircraft wings.
Where to Find CNC Waterjet Machines?
Techni Waterjet is the leading provider of waterjet machines across the globe. These machines can cut thick blocks of steel as well as engrave on delicate pieces of wood. Techni Waterjet provides compatible software for all of its equipment, so you won’t have to spend extra time and resources later on. Any simple or complex cuts can be made with a simple selection of the right program in the software.
Waterjet cutting can do wonders for modern manufacturing industries. These machines have become an integral part of the manufacturing assembly lines across multiple sectors. If you are considering using a waterjet machine for your industry, it is definitely going to increase your productivity and results.