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Water Jet Cutting
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Water Jet Cutting
A waterjet is a basic engineering concept brilliantly delivered by modern technology. Simply, it is a pump, plumbing, and a cutting head. Using a sophisticated system of water and hydraulic technology a supersonic stream of water is generated. The waterjet has can perform where other technologies simply can not. From cutting whisper thin details in stone, glass and metals; to rapid hole drilling of titanium, the waterjet has proven itself unique. Extremely detailed geometry, little material lost, non heat cutting, cuts thick parts or thin, cuts quickly using low cutting forces are benefits you will experience having your flat parts waterjet cut. Waterjets cut in two ways: pure water or abrasive waterjet. We can cut a variety of materials including metals, glass, and stone in thicknesses up to 2". We use different types of equipment including Waterjet Pro, and the IFB model. Please contact us to discuss your project.
Up to 2" (50 mm)
Gummy 304 stainless
High Density Polyethylene
Pure Water Cutting
Very filtered water is pressurized in a booster pump. The water is moved to a second stage ultra high pressure pump called an intensifier which increases water pressure to 60,000 psi. The now ultra pressurized water is routed through a shock attenuator to maintain an even flow to the cutting head. The cutting head contains a gem (sapphire, ruby or diamond) with a tiny hole that allows the supersonic water out to erode or cut the material and blow a small amount of cut material out. Waterjets are highly accurate due to software control and precise motion control hardware.
The water is warmed by friction from its supersonic speed as it exits the orifice. Inlet water temperature is raised 2 to 3 degrees for each psi to about 170° F. Due to the cutting speed the work piece is generally unaffected.
This process is used to cut soft materials like rubber, plastic, foam, sponge, composites, felt, cork, and Teflon®.
Abrasive cutting differs from pure water cutting in just a few ways. After the water jet stream is created, abrasive is injected via a mixing tube which acts like a rifle barrel to accelerate the abrasive particles. The pressurized mixing tube injects garnet sand. The abrasive is injected into the water stream and the stream becomes hundreds of times more abrasive than water alone. Hard materials are easily cut with no heat build up, warping, or distortion other processes can generate. Clean, narrow cuts virtually eliminates costly secondary finishing. There are material savings due to our unique nesting software which dramatically improves yield and our large bed size allows large work pieces to be cut in one piece.
This process is used to cut hard materials including granite, mild steel, stainless steel, titanium, glass, stone, ceramic, composites, and plastics. Abrasive cutting allows hard and brittle materials from thin to 6” steel to be cut quickly and with out toxic gases liquids or environmental impact.
Cheaper than other processes
Computer driven accuracy
Low volume production runs
Most steels cut at the same speed, whether hardened, or not
Brittle materials like glass can be cut
No Heat Generated / No heat affected zones - cold cutting
No mechanical stresses
Cut virtually any shape
Narrow kerf removes only a small amount of material
No "scaly" edges, which makes it easier to make a high quality weld
Our first machine a model 2031 was placed in service on December 2005. This stalwart cutter now handles our soft material cutting. Gaskets and other parts requiring either extreme detailed geometry, or thin or thick materials are handled quickly and with excellent finish on cut parts. A bed size of 72” by 120” handles the larges roll good of rubber, belting, and sheets of foam, sponge or plastics. This machine can produce run speeds up to 600” on wide a variety of parts greatly reducing your cost per unit.
New Equipment - IFB
Our newest waterjet is a state of the art Integrated Flying Bridge (IFB) model. This unit combines the latest in motion control, utilizing a Dynamic WaterJet® with Active Tolerance Control to eliminate taper and improve edge finish. The IFB is driven by Flow’s latest software package FlowMaster Windows®-based PC machine control. Using non-swivel plumbing for precise cutting, a 60,000 PSI Intensifier pump, and the FlowMaster software, tolerances are .003” or .002” for repeatability depending on the part. The IFB’s bed size is 77” by 144” which allows use of larger sheets for improved yield and large parts for signs.
Materials & Applications:
stainless steel gears and signs, titanium parts, aluminum signs, pipe flanges in steel, stainless steel, Hastalloy®, composites (including ceramics, phenolics and other difficult laminates), custom fixtures, medical pieces, metal art, prototype work, aircraft equipment, and other signage.
Abrasive Water Jets vs. Lasers
Abrasive water jets can machine many materials that lasers cannot.
Uniformity of material is not very important to an Abrasive jet.
Abrasive jets do not heat your part. Thus there is no thermal distortion or hardening of the material.
Precision abrasive jet machines can obtain about the same or higher tolerances than lasers (especially as thickness increases).
Abrasive jets can machine thicker materials.
Lasers have a maximum of 0.5" (12mm) - 0.75" (19mm).
Abrasive jets are more environmentally friendly.
Abrasive jets are capable of similar tolerances on thin parts, and better on parts thicker than .5"
Abrasive jets do not loose much "focus" when cutting over uneven surfaces.
While lasers are often faster on thinner materials, abrasive jets don't create "scaly" edges, which makes it easier to make a high quality weld
Comparing WaterJet to Lasers, Plasma, and EDM
60,000 PSI Water
Water or Water/ Abrasive
1/50" to 6"
.120" to 1/2"
5/16" to 5"
1/16" to 6"
May be conical
.030 to .060
Cut, drill, ablate, structure
Cut, drill, ablate, structure, weld
Heat Affected Zone
CO², N², HE Gas
Measurements are based on optimum cutting, material thickness, speed of cut, and other environmental conditions that affect cutting quality.
Water Jet Machine
Water Jet Process
Water Jet Machine 2
Water Jet Part