There are numerous options to cut foam since it is a very soft material. However, the soft and delicate nature of foam can be a challenge in itself, since many cutting processes often lead to the burning of foam.
Waterjet cutting foam has turned out to be one of the most applicable foam cutting process. Waterjet cutters are simple and easy-to-use equipment that 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 about how to choose waterjet cutting foam equipment for optimal results.
Can You Cut Foam With a Waterjet Cutter?
Yes, it is possible and very 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 water jet to achieve optimal cutting. However, foam is a soft material so it does not require abrasive waterjet cutting. Foam of any 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 to cut foam items. There are no heat-affected zones in waterjet cutting foam, due to which the foam does not get any burn marks or any 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 is that there is no limit to the thickness of foam that you can cut with it. Typically, pure waterjet can go to 18 inches thick foam with ease, and higher thickness after that will increase 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 the cost of abrasive. Due to the absence of abrasive, waterjet foam cutting is quite cheaper 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 design quality.
Waterjet cutting is one of the most precise cutting methods out there. The tolerances (deviation from cut) in waterjet cutting is quite low, leading to high accuracy of cutting. This is quite beneficial since the foam that is cut can be used in secondary applications without any further modifications required for size fitting.
Waterjet cutting foam has a very smooth edge quality. This is because of the extreme force of the ultra high pressure water. The smooth edge quality means that you do not need any additional processing for enhancing the edge. This leads to further savings in the cost.
Dust Free Cutting
When any material is cut, the removal of material along the cut generates material dust. However, in waterjet cutting foam, the foam dust generated gets dissolved in the water jet. This facility is not present in any other foam cutting process which is detrimental to the workspace.
The water jet cutting foam process is completely green and environmentally friendly. There are no toxic gases released in the process and no heat buildups. It just utilizes water which is also recycled and used over and over in the process.
Applications of Water Jet Cutting of Foam
There are many areas where water jet’s foam cutting capabilities are applied. Some of these are:
- Insulators: Waterjet foam layers are used as insulating materials in electricity generation and propagation.
- Upholstery: It is common to see foam materials in cushioning of furniture like couches and chairs.
- Toys: The foam manufacturing process for toys utilizes waterjet cutting for maintaining the quality grade.
- Pillows: Foam pieces for pillows use a water jet to cut through the high thickness of varying densities of foam sheets.
- Shoes: Waterjet foam product is 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 is still some considerations to be made when purchasing a water jet cutter. This is because water jet cutters are a major investment, so you wouldn’t want to make the wrong choice that can lead to production downtimes.
Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing a water jet cutter for foam target:
Pump Pressure: If your purpose is to use the machine only for jet foam cutting fabrications, you don’t have to go for the higher water pressure cutting machines. A moderate pressure pump will be enough for foam water jet cutting. This will save a lot of costs because the price of the equipment is mainly dependent on the capacity of the pump.
Build Quality: Many users fall into the trap of buying a cheap waterjet machine that has compromised build quality. The machine breaks soon into operation leading to significant repair costs and long downtimes. Therefore, spending a bit more on a higher build quality machine early on is the best way to go.
Spare Part Availability: it is vital to 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 availability of the machine and the ability to customize cut shapes.
Recommended Water Jet Foam Cutting Machine
Techni Waterjet cutters turn out to be the most superior foam cutting machines when you evaluate them on all the parameters that matter. It is a reputed brand in the segment and provides high-build quality machines to many different manufacturing sectors.
Whether you want to cut foam or whether you want to cut hard metal, these machines can take everything you throw at them. They come with a complementary software that has a lot of preloaded cut shapes. There is also the ability to customize the cutting shape as required. Additionally, the spare parts are readily available and shipped to your doorstep whenever required.
Waterjet cutting is the best way for cutting anything foam related, from small pieces of foam to very thick sheets, from polyester foam to polyurethane foam, and everything else. Therefore, if you were wondering whether waterjet cutter will do the job for you, it most definitely will.
To get the most out of your machine, make an informed decision during the machine buying process. Operating a waterjet cutter is easy and these machines will last you for more than a lifetime, the only important thing is to spend your money on quality instead of on frills.