Considering the waterjet jet cutting machine size is important when buying one. Waterjet machines are not compact tools that you can place in a corner. Any machine you get will come with its size requirements. Waterjet machine tool size should consider the machine dimensions and the clearance required to operate the machine.
This article will explain the various water jet machine sizes. Based on the information presented here, you can determine which size will suit your requirements.
What is Waterjet Cutting?
Waterjet cutting is a process that uses the force of a high-pressure water supply to erode material from a workpiece. Waterjet cutting does not require physical contact of the workpiece with traditional tools. Instead, cutting occurs from a distance, and only the waterjet stream makes contact with the workpiece material. Abrasive materials are added to the water to facilitate quickly cutting harder materials. The process is then called abrasive waterjet cutting.
What are the Different Sizes of Waterjet Cutting Machines?
Waterjet cutting machines do not have a formal size classification. However, these machines can be divided into four informal categories. These categories are based on the table size of the machine. Let us go through these categories one by one.
Small Waterjet Machines
Small waterjet machines have a table size of up to 1.2 m x 1.2 m (4 x 4 feet). Small workshops install these machines for short projects. Many worships use these machines to test the technology or save the initial investment.
Advantages of Small Waterjet Machines
- Initial Investment: Small waterjet machines require little initial investment. These are enticing options for manufacturers who cannot afford the high cost of big machines.
- Multiple Machines: Workshops can install two small waterjet cutters at the cost of a single large machine. This leads to a doubling of the production rate.
- Learning Waterjet: Small waterjet machines are a great way for newcomers in the industry to learn this technology. They can experiment with ways to use the machine and its settings for the best possible operation.
- Movable: Small waterjet machines can easily move around the shop if the layout plan changes. This makes it preferable for workshops looking at a growing or changing landscape.
- Precision: These machines provide a higher precision since they work on a smaller scale than their larger counterparts.
- Less Pressure Loss: Small waterjet machines reduce the travel area for the water. This reduces the pressure loss of the machine.
- Faster Cutting: Small waterjet machines can cut faster due to reduced pressure loss.
Disadvantages of Small Waterjet Machines
- Cutting Area: The disadvantage of small waterjet machines is the limitation on the area of workpiece materials. Many small waterjet machines overcome this limitation by providing a feeding mechanism for larger workpiece materials.
Applications of Small Waterjet Machines
Small waterjet machines can be a great fit for industries that create parts of a lower geometric scale. Some examples are:
- Medical devices
- Glass industry
- Ceramic products
- Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)
- Smaller electronics products
How Much Does a Small Waterjet Cutter Cost?
Small waterjet cutters can be acquired for around $30,000 to $50,000. Some models with added features can even go up to $100,000.
Medium Waterjet Machines
Medium waterjet machines have a size between small waterjet machines (4 x 4 feet) going up to 4 x 8 feet (1.2 x 2.4 m). These machines are design to cut a workpiece material with a large area. They sometimes come with multiple cutting heads to facilitate faster cutting. However, for optimal use of multiple cutting heads, it is better to go with larger options.
Advantages of Medium Waterjet Machines
- Larger Workpiece: Workshops can cut a larger area of material directly. This is the main reason they opt for medium waterjet machines.
- Higher Number of Pieces: Due to larger workpieces, more number of pieces can be obtained in a single setup. This can reduce the lead time for the operation.
- Easy Setup: Their setup, installation, and uninstallation is relatively easier compared to the goliaths that larger waterjets are.
- Movable: These machines are not as portable as small waterjet machines. However, they can still be moved around the workshop with some effort required.
Disadvantages of Medium Waterjet Machines
- Cost: Medium waterjets can cost a lot more than small waterjets. Very often, two small waterjets can come in the place of a single medium waterjet.
- Large Workpiece: The large workpiece is an advantage and a disadvantage. Loading of a large workpiece can be difficult. In many cases, the loading and unloading time negates the time saved in cutting more pieces.
Applications of Medium Waterjet Machines
Medium waterjet machines are used by niche industries that require fitting a particular size workpiece. Glass cutting is one of the main industries that utilize these machines. For instance, medium waterjets are used to make glass panels, partitions, and mirrors due to the particular size of the workpiece.
Cost of Medium Waterjet Machines
Medium waterjet machines can fall between $60,000 to $100,000. Going too high over it isn’t recommended, as multiple smaller waterjets or one large waterjet can be a better fit.
Large Waterjet Machines
Large waterjet machines can accommodate workpiece materials up to 8 x 16 feet (2 x 4 m). In many cases, this limit can be even more. Usually, these machines work with multiple machine heads. Large waterjets are common in industries that require high production numbers or very large structures.
Advantages of Large Waterjet Machines
- Workpiece Size: Large waterjets can load large sheets of material on the table. This provides the ability to create large frames for various industries.
- Production Rate: After a single setup, multiple heads can produce a large number of parts without unloading and reloading the material over and over.
- Cutting Speed: Multiple cutting heads exponentially increase the speed of the entire operation.
Disadvantages of Large Waterjet Machines
- Cost: Cost is the primary factor prohibiting people from buying a large waterjet machine. This is especially a deterrent for people new to this technology.
- Workpiece Setup: Large waterjet machines are designed to load a large workpiece. However, loading and unloading material of that size of workpiece is a herculean task. For instance, take the case of an 8 feet x 16 feet steel sheet just 0.1 inches thick. This sheet would weigh around 237 kg (522 lbs). This weight increases linearly as thickness increases.
- Secondary Operations: Waterjet machines are used for secondary finishing in many cases. However, large machines eliminate such usage. The proportions and setup requirements are unsuitable for secondary finishing applications.
- Tolerances: Large waterjets don’t provide as good tolerances as small waterjet machines. Therefore, for tolerance-specific applications, large sheets of material are cut down with a large waterjet and then machined with small waterjet cutters or laser shops.
Applications of Large Waterjet Machines
Large waterjet caters to two types of situations. The first situation involves high-volume manufacturing. Manufacturers cut a single part into many different pieces simultaneously by using a waterjet. The second situation involves areas where large-sized parts are required. A common example is the frames used in the aerospace and aircraft industries. Therefore, some common applications of large waterjets are:
- Aerospace Industry
- Packaging Industry
- Oil fields
- Marine industry
Cost of Large Waterjet Machines
Large waterjet machines usually start at $100,000. The prices have a wide range and no upper ceiling. The main driving points are the pressure pump
Custom Waterjet Sizes
Custom waterjet sizes are those which are specifically designed for a particular application. These sizes generally apply when manufacturers want to incorporate waterjet cutting in their assembly line. The material moves through an automatic feeder mechanism to these machines and they process it as required. These machines usually don’t use standard material sizes.
Applications of Custom Waterjet Machines
Custom waterjets are mainly used where manufacturers want to speed their operation. These machines provide a seamless workflow without the need for loading or unloading material. These machines are also used in niche industries where standard sizes cannot fulfil the requirements. Common examples are:
- Food Cutting
- Carpet Industry
- Diaper cutting
- Eye Surgery
- Mining Applications
- Cardboard Box
- Paper Industry
How Much Does a Custom Waterjet Cost?
Custom waterjet machines can easily cost over $100,000. These machines cost more than standard machine sizes of comparable areas. This is because custom machines require a dedicated build and installation based on the requirements.
Does Machine Size Matter in Waterjet Cutting?
Yes, machine size indeed matters in waterjet cutting. You cannot just buy any machine and fit it into your workshop. The workshop should be able to accommodate the waterjet machine. Additionally, the size also affects other parameters like accuracy and cutting speed. Last but not the least, the size of the machine restricts the size of the workpiece that you can cut.
Are Big Waterjets Faster Than Small Waterjets?
Big waterjets with multiple cutting heads have a faster cutting speed than small waterjets. Additionally, they have fewer loading and unloading cycles. Therefore, the overall operation is exponentially faster. However, loading and unloading the large workpiece material can require some effort.
What Waterjet Size is Right For You?
Waterjet machines are not ‘one size fits all’. You need to buy the machine size that suits your requirements. Here are some factors that typical buyers should consider in this regard:
The first thing to consider is how much size your workshop can accommodate. You cannot fit a 4×8 feet machine in a workshop area of 4×6. Additionally, some clearing is required around the machine for the operator to move around during setup and unloading. Therefore, measure the space in your workshop that you can freely allocate to the waterjet machine.
The next thing to consider is the industry in which you will use the waterjet cutter. Every industry has a particular size that is suitable. For instance, large or even medium waterjet machines are useless in the jewelry industry. Similarly, small waterjet machines cannot make large aircraft turbine blades.
Determine the budget that you can allocate to the machine. If the cost is restricted, buying a smaller waterjet cutter is a good idea. You can buy another small waterjet cutter after a period of time when the capital is available. You can opt for a large machine if you have the capital and want a high-production operation.
Where to Find a Waterjet Cutting Machine?
Techni Waterjet is the most reliable supplier of waterjet cutters worldwide. These machines are the industry standard when it comes to waterjet technology. Workshops in every sector use Techni Waterjet cutters in their assembly line.
There are many different models and size options in the catalog. You can choose the product fit for you. Additionally, every machine comes with integrated software, 24×7 customer support, and prompt availability of spare parts.
The size customization of waterjet technology is an attractive factor of this technology. Whether you have a small job shop or a large workshop for automobile modification, a waterjet machine is available for your requirements.
Get in touch with Techni Waterjet to learn more about these machines and find the ideal fit for your needs.