How Does a Water Jet Cutting Machine Work?

Despite the advances in metal processing and fabricating techniques, many people are still not aware of what water jet cutting machines are or how they work. But most importantly, they are sometimes oblivious of the help that these groundbreaking solutions can bring to their own business.

With the stiff business climate we have nowadays, one needs to harness all the resources they have as well as all the help they could get. This will help them to stay on top of their game. In the case of water jet technology, here is an in-depth look into what it is all about.

Before anything else, we need to know what water jet technology is.

best waterjet cutting method

What is Waterjet?

This is an innovative, computerized material cutting technology that is capable of cutting through or slicing through almost every imaginable material there is. Regardless of how brittle or fragile your material may be, a waterjet system is powerful enough to cut through them into 2-dimensional shapes.

Granite, marble, porcelain, linoleum, ceramic, vinyl, sports flooring, and all kinds of metals — all these materials can be cut or sliced seamlessly with a water jet process. A qualified cold material cutting/slicing method that does not heat, distort or harden metals. Waterjet system efficiently and cleanly cuts ceramics, stone, and porcelains.

Anything that a computer can draw can be cut with a water jet cutting machine. But there are materials that you can never cut economically into complex shapes if you will use some other material cutting techniques other than the waterjet system. These materials include porcelain, stone, and stainless steel.

Abrasive Waterjet Cutting, How Does It Work?

If you are a customer, what you need to do is submit a blueprint, or a drawing, or an electronic file of the design you have in mind. Your enlisted fabricating team that employs this material cutting technology will take and handle everything for you.

Normally also, they have a dedicated team within the organization that can take charge of the design process. Thus, if there is something, in particular, you have in mind you can delegate it to them instead. Once your design is digitized, the file or your drawing is loaded into the AutoCAD system.

It will then undergo a conversion process into a language that the waterjet cutting machine will read through. This part of the process is referred to as computer-aided manufacturing or CAM. After which your processed image is up and ready for downloading into the waterjet machine system.

Waterjet machines come with 2 components, this is the X-Y-Z table and the high-intensity pump. This is capable of generating 55,000 psi. As for the X-Y-Z table, it is responsible for moving the cutting head over your material.

The intensive pressure generated by the high-intensity pump allows the water alone to cut through foam, plastics, rubber, resilient floor coverings, and many other similar soft substances.

As for the cutting head, this comes with a 0.050 nozzle (¼”) sapphire crystal orifice through which pressurized water is forced through. This is going to be 3x the sound speed, courtesy of the high-intensity pump. The nozzle movement will be determined and guided by the computer and how it interprets the digital file of your drawing.

When trying to work on materials that can be best described as considerably hard such as stone, metals, glass, ceramics, and dense composites, abrasive garnet particles can be fed into the waterjet stream.

This action will help create a more intense erosion action against the material in question, facilitating easier and faster slicing. As a qualified cold cutting process, it will not create heat or exert pressure on the working material.

The use of a water jet cutting machine is an important turning point in the fabrication sphere, both for architectural and industrial applications. With respect to the material in question, intricacy, and thickness of the cut, the anticipated savings from the material cutting technology can be substantial.

Compared to other similar material cutting/slicing methods, such as the plasma torch, routers, electrical discharge machining, or EDM and laser cutting, waterjet systems can serve as a perfect alternative to casting forged blanks. 

Waterjet systems can cut or slice through any material that many industries consider as “un-machinable” with traditional cutting methods.

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