Water Jet Cutting
Video: Cutting with the flowJET
Video: Waterjet cutting with abrasive
Water jet cutting is now even cheaper
Cutting independently with an inexpensive machine – the advantages
Water jet cutting with the water jet cutter flowJet from CNC-STEP® offers you a real alternative and even some real advantages in terms of cutting unique materials in direct comparison to other processing methods. It is a cold cutting process where water under high pressure cuts various materials. Besides, you can make a distinction between pure water cutting and abrasive cutting.
Ceramic tiles 10 mm cut to size on the flowJET
Precision water jet cut comb made of 2 mm steel
Pure water cutting
In pure water cutting, the machine processes the workpiece with a jet of pure water without any additives. For thinner and softer materials, the pure water nozzle with a diameter of about 0.1 – 0.2 mm is perfectly adequate. Thus, in addition to thin wood, rubber and plastic, products from the food industry can also be cut quickly and, above all, cleanly without sticking blades.
Cutting food – pastry & co.
Besides to fresh products such as pasta, cookies, chocolates and cakes, pizzas, vegetables, fruit or meat, you can also portion,cut or cut out in unusual shapes frozen foods. This procedure is an extremely hygienic matter, especially in the food industry, as only using pure water for cutting, which is then particularly pre-filtered and sterilised. However, it must be mentioned that the machines for processing food must fulfil very high hygienic requirements. Our standard machines of the flowJET – line do not meet these requirements.
Abrasive cutting with garnet sand, olive sand or corundum
In contrast with this in abrasive cutting, an abrasive (usually garnet sand or corundum) is added to the pure water jet via an additional chamber in the cutting head. The resulting negative pressure in the cutting head sucks the abrasive into the mixing chamber to mix it with the water. Due to the mechanics of the abrasive nozzle, the water jet is concentrated with the abrasive and thus accelerated. For that reason you can use the abrasive waterjet cutting therefore often for stronger or harder materials.
Precisely fitting water jet cut with 0.2 mm abrasive water jet
8 mm steel burr-free through waterjet cutting
What advantages does water jet cutting offer?
In addition to the advantages already mentioned, the excellent, almost burr-free machining of the workpiece should be emphasized, which provides clean cutting edges and perfect results. That means that in most cases, there is no need for post-processing.
Desides, the workpiece is hardly subject to any thermal effects, and therefore you don’t have to expect distortion or damage to the cut edges. Furthermore, a tiny cut with a diameter of only 0.1 mm is possible, so that the exact machining of filigree parts is also possible.
Water jet cutting vs milling, laser and plasma cutting
Compared to milling, the advantage of water jet cutting is, on the one hand, the fact that there is no need to change the milling cutter. That means that you can adjust the cutting parameters for the cutting process conveniently via the abrasive supply and feed speed during the machining process.
The difference between waterjet cutting machines and CNC routers, laser or CNC plasma cutters is the heat development. The heat, in turn, can leave unsightly and damaged cutting edges on heat-sensitive materials and can also lead to cracking in some materials. By cutting with a water jet, you can completely bypass this because it is a cold cutting process. Consequently, it means that you can process even more sensitive materials such as thermoplastics without distortion.
Water jet cutting with a large variety of materials
The variety of materials that can be machined with a water jet cutter is also immense. You can process, for example, aluminium, steel, stainless steel, non-ferrous metals, plastics and glass simply and precisely. On the other hand, a water jet cutter is an ideal and safe solution for processing flammable or heat-sensitive materials, such as wood, magnesium and thermoplastics.
Flexibility through waterjet cutting
Depending on the raw material and the specifications for the final workpiece, water jet cutting is highly efficient. Not only in terms of the result but also and above all in the work process itself. Because this processing method produces as little waste as necessary and thus makes optimum use of the material. For that reason, you are very flexible, even when producing different series from various materials, as there is no need to change tools.
Cost factor waterjet cutting
Waterjet cutting is suitable for use in both series production and single-part production. However, this is particularly worthwhile to produce individual workpieces. Due to the processing itself, the result hardly needs any reworking afterwards to obtain a finish.
Even a more complex geometry of the workpiece is no challenge when machining with a water jet machine. The cuts are set with high precision and flawlessly. Finally, it enables us to keep the operating costs at an adequate level and produce with the highest quality.
Further application scope and information
High-pressure water jets you can also use in other areas. For example, for fettling or deburring castings or for surface cleaning and paint stripping on large surfaces such as ships etc. Water jet cutting is prevalent when the introduction of temperature into the workpiece is entirely undesirable because the workpiece may be heat sensitive.
Cutting light-reflecting surfaces or stone
Cuttingstone – of course. Use this cutting method also when the laser can’t do the work any longer, or a bundled light beam cannot separate the material at all (for example stone). In other words, a water jet can also cut a highly reflective material, where the laser reaches its limits.
Glass fibre – GFK and other composite materials
A water jet machine can also cut glass fibre reinforced composites. The water jet is constantly cutting and can neither stick nor wear out, so it is always sharp! High tool costs are, therefore, not necessary. Also, this eliminates the constant monitoring of wear on the tool. The process suits ideally for cutting GFK, CFK etc.
Dangers with water jet cutting
The dangers of cutting with a water jet are then quite low. On the contrary, they are minimized in part even by the desirable properties of water on the cutting process.
Due to the low temperatures, the process produces no or very little toxic vapours or dust during the cutting, which in turn benefits the operator and the user in the long term. Dust is immediately bound in the water bath and therefore generates not in quantities. However, there is a reduced risk of splashing water. For this reason, the operator should always wear protective goggles and stand not too close to the workpiece during the cutting process.