With the rise of waterjet cutting machines on the rise, people often have various doubts before buying these instruments.
Commonly asked questions about waterjet equipment is about the cost of waterjet cutters, their benefits, and most importantly- the maintenance required for waterjet cutting machines.
In this article, you will learn all about waterjet maintenance, how often it is required, and how to do it right.
Therefore, without any delay, let us get into the topic rightaway:
Why Maintenance is Crucial for the Longevity of a Waterjet Machine?
Any professional equipment, big or small, requires maintenance. The same goes for cutting machines like a waterjet machine, which are designed with high pressure components.
Since waterjet machines are used for heavy cutting projects, they utilize very high-pressure plumbing. When water works at this high pressure, it can wear out certain parts of the system such as nozzles.
Additionally, due to the human factor involved in the operation of these machines, there is a slight but possible chance of leaks in the system.
Poor water quality also calls for the need for waterjet maintenance. If you use hard water or water with a high density of impurities, it can lead to clogs or failure of the machine. Improperly maintained machines can even lead to injury of operators.
Waterjet maintenance is a preventive process to make sure that none of the risks are present in the waterjet cutting machine. Maintaining equipment like waterjet machines is like a regular health checkup you do for yourself, it just keeps the machine running healthy without faults.
Waterjet Maintenance Schedule
For your convenience, let us go through the waterjet maintenance in this section and the maintenance of the pump in the next section.
Maintenance checkups for the waterjet are required on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Here is a list of things you need to check in each maintenance:
Weekly Waterjet Maintenance
The following tasks should be completed on your waterjet every week. If you want to know how to accomplish any step, you can refer to your waterjet’s user manual and your waterjet manufacturer’s specifications:
- Drain the pneumatic filter regulator. This is the regulator that controls the flow of water in the waterjet machine.
- For abrasive waterjet machines, check the abrasive flow rate. The abrasive flow rate is important for clean and precise cuts. Besides checking the abrasive flow rate during weekly maintenance, you can also check the flow rate if your performance feels altered.
- If your abrasive waterjet machine comes with an abrasive removal system, run the cutting head with the tank filled with only water. This will stir up any settled abrasives in the catch tank.
- The chemical processes inside the waterjet, such as the build-up of high-pressure water vapor, can lead to accumulating gasses. Purge the tank of any of these built-up gasses.
Monthly Waterjet Maintenance
The following are the tasks that you should complete every month on your waterjet:
- Clean the water strainer of the waterjet. In case you are cutting materials that float in the water, you will need to clean the water strainer weekly.
- Check that the emergency stops and the breakaway head are working in the correct order. These things are used to make sure that your waterjet stops automatically if anything goes wrong. Therefore, you require their proper functioning for the safe operation of the waterjet.
Yearly Waterjet Maintenance
The following are the tasks that you should do every year to maintain your waterjet. Mark them in an annual calendar so you do them on time without missing any. For most efficiency, you can create a handy checklist of these items:
- Grease the X-axis bearings.
- Grease the Y-axis bearings.
- Grease the Z-axis bearings.
- Grease the abrasive slides.
- Grease the Y-axis slave bearings.
- Check the condition of the bellows.
- Grease the bellow support rods.
- Check the bellow support rod bushes. If they require replacement, replace them. In case you need to replace bushes, you should use XC-022 for all axis systems, except for the gantry system Y slave axis which uses part #511-1-0010.
- Check the clevis pin of the abrasive slide for an abrasive waterjet machine. In case this pin is damaged, replace it.
- Check the belt tension and the condition of the belt, look for any signs of wear and tear. Check the pulleys, and make sure the belt is clean and oil-free.
Waterjet Pump Maintenance
Now that we are over the waterjet maintenance, let us get into the steps you need to take for waterjet pump maintenance. Waterjet pumps deal with very high-pressure plumbing and pressurized water, so they require more maintenance than waterjets themselves.
For efficient functioning, the pump maintenance is divided into daily, weekly, monthly, half-yearly, and yearly routines.
Daily Pump Maintenance
The following routine should be followed every day when your waterjet machine is being used:
- Check the weep holes of the pump to see if it is leaking water. The purpose of weep holes is to signal when your pump seals are beginning to fail. Therefore, dripping water from the weep holes may be a sign of replacing the pump seals.
- Check the inlet water pressure. Waterjet pumps require a sufficient inlet water pressure, as mentioned by your machine manufacturer. Without the proper pressure, the pump may not function adequately or might even get damaged.
- Dump the valve for heat.
- Inspect the oil levels by sight. If there is insufficient oil, you can top it up by using the recommended machine oil.
- Examine check valves and sealing head for heat.
Weekly Pump Maintenance
Complete the following maintenance tasks every week for your pump:
- Check the pressure of the oil filter. If the HMI oil gauge goes into the red zone during normal operating temperature, replace the filters.
- Check the torque on the cylinder clamp ring bolts.
Monthly Pump Maintenance
Follow these procedures every month for your waterjet pumps:
- Check the water filters.
- Remove the door fan filter of the electrical cabinet and clean it with compressed air.
Half Yearly Pump Maintenance
Half-yearly pump maintenance is just a simple task you need to do once every six months:
- Replace the moisture absorption oil filter after a.) every six months b.) every 1000 hours c.) when it is in the red zone- whichever of a, b, or c comes first.
Yearly Pump Maintenance
Mark the yearly pump maintenance on your calendar so you don’t miss it. It is a two-part process that you should do every year or every 2000 hours, whichever falls earlier.
- Replace the lubricating oil and both the filters.
- Replace the M12 cylinder ring bolts.
How Long Does a Water Jet Last When Maintained Properly?
Water jet machines are heavy-duty equipment that are designed to bear heavy loads and have a long lifespan. When you maintain them properly, they can last for as long as you require them.
However, the mechanical parts used in these machines have a lifespan of their own, much like any other industrial machinery. For instance, the high-pressure cylinder and plungers have a life span of 5000 hours. The pressure accumulator has a lifespan of 10,000 hours.
Even if you maintain the water jet in the best way possible, you will still need to replace these parts since they will undergo wear and tear during usage.
For details on when to replace a particular component, you should check the waterjet manufacturer’s specifications.
Waterjet machines are all about the water sincethe cutting action is created by hydraulic force. The high pressure water goes through the pump and the waterjet, so the water quality is a very important thing to keep in mind.
Using a good quality water will always keep your maintenance worries to the minimum. In case the water quality of your environment is very poor or the water has high total dissolved solids, it might cause more frequent maintenance tasks like straining the filters.
Investing in a cheap water treatment system might cause a lot of maintenance savings in the long run.
It might seem like a long list of things to do, but high pressure waterjet maintenance is actually a very simple process. Since the maintenance is divided into weekly, monthly, and yearly manner, not all the things listed here are required to be done at the same time.
Additionally, the parts of waterjet cutting last longer than any other cutting alternatives. Most of the parts require maintenance after thousands of hours, whereas in other cutting methods they might wear out only after a few hours.
It is important to keep in mind that to obtain the low maintenance benefits of waterjet cutting, you should use a high-quality machine. Machines provided by PWRpack fall in this industry-leading category, so you can check out the catalog for minimum effort on maintenance.