Several methods are used during the fabrication or manufacture of parts for machinery and other devices. One such method is waterjet cutting. This is a technique that uses highly pressurized water, either used directly or mixed with abrasives to cut through various materials. Due to its efficiency, reliability, flexibility and adaptability this technique has found application in most fabrication shops across the globe. However, since not many people know what it entails, this article will try to shed some light on what waterjet cutting incorporates. 

What is Waterjet Cutting?

Waterjet cutting follows a simple concept where an ultrahigh-pressure pump generates a stream of water with pressures that can go up to 100,000 psi. Then, the pressure is converted into velocity by being passed through a small jewel orifice creating a stream of water moving at a velocity of over MACH 2. That high velocity water is then mixed with an abrasive additive and together shot through a focusing tube that is capable of cutting through any materials.

Types of Waterjet Cutting

As mentioned earlier, there are two types of waterjet cutting. The first type is where only pure water is pressurized to cut through soft materials such as paper, plastic, gasket, carpet, foam,  poultry, cakes and much more. 

The second type is the abrasive waterjet machining where an abrasive is introduced into the water stream making it possible to cut through harder materials such as stone, glass, metal, ceramic and composite, among others. Literally anything you can touch.

The Benefits of High-Pressure Water Cutter

Cuts through a Vast Array of Materials

Waterjet cutting uses highly pressurized water that is capable of cutting through nearly any material. From smooth substances such as plastic, gasket and paper to harder items such as metal, stone and some types of ceramics.  Once abrasive is added any hard materials can be cut including steel, glass aluminum etc. 

High Precision and Superior Edge Quality

A High-pressure water cutter delivers unmatched precision and uniform burr-free edge. It boasts a narrow kerf width that allows you to make delicate contours and produce highly tolerant parts. Using a high-pressure water cutter eliminates the need to perform secondary finishes and yet provides accuracies like that of Laser cutting systems only with a much more flexible variety of cutting capabilities.

No Heat Distortion and Hardened Edges

Unlike other cutting methods, a high-pressure waterjet cutter eliminates the problems associated with extreme heat.  Since it is a form of cold cutting, waterjet cutting doesn’t distort, harden or change the molecular structure of the items being cut.  It is actually a grinding process (in harder materials). 

Doesn’t Produce Hazardous Waste

Unlike other fabrication processes, high-pressure waterjet cutting doesn't create hazardous waste such as fumes and toxic gases and with the world moving towards environmentally friendly solutions, waterjet cutters are vital pieces of equipment that can make this quest a reality.  The waste by-products are only water, sand (or sludge) and minuscule grindings of the material being cut. In most every case this waste can simply be disposed of in a dumpster or even used as fill dirt. 

Choosing the Right Waterjet System

Although waterjet cutting machines deliver unmatched efficiency and endless capabilities, you have to choose the one that resonates with the needs of your fabrication shop. Here are things to consider: 

  • Choose a high-pressure waterjet cutting system based on the materials you'll be cutting. If you are dealing with materials that are hard and thick, you should opt for models that include the abrasive cutting capabilities (almost all of the machinery available include this feature). They should have an ample grit tank that can be loaded and unloaded quickly. For softer materials, you can go for low-pressure machines without the added abrasive feeders.
  • Decide whether you need a new or used waterjet cutting machine. If you opt for a new one you will be looking to get the latest technology and features specific for your needs. However, if you opt for a used one you will be getting a great value as used waterjets are often 1/3rd to 1/2 the price of new systems.

At Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales, Inc. we are waterjet experts. We are familiar with the capabilities, the processes and the manufacturers of this equipment. Put us to the test and contact us today regarding your waterjet cutting application or click on the link below to see all the waterjets we have to offer. 

Waterjet Inventory