High Pressure Water Jet Cutting: How Does It Work?

For professionals who wish to manufacture or process thick and difficult-to-model parts, water jet cutting technology is made for them. All it takes is a lot of pressure and you're done. The tools dedicated to this purpose have been widely popularized at the level of industries which appreciate the advantages. Here's how it actually works.

The different basic mechanisms

Generally speaking, a precision waterjet cutting machine consists of three essential core elements. The pump is the first important part of the machine. It is used to extract the necessary water from the tank and then redistribute it to the various pipes. A hydraulic unit is then responsible for providing the necessary mechanical pressure (approximately 200 bars) for the liquid to reach its destination correctly. The pump must be powered by mains electricity. Then there is the high pressure pipe which also has a leading role so that the water is projected at the right velocity. It is specially designed to withstand strong thrusts. This is why it is forged in a very thick special steel. And finally, there is the cutting table which serves as a support for the piece to be shaped.

Machines of this type are fully automated. Indeed, the operators must use a special software which will provide all the necessary information to the mobile cutting arm. It is therefore necessary to program the shape of the desired part beforehand. Contrary to what one might think, this is not a complicated process. Usually, the creation is done in 2D. This digital control system provides great precision, but also guarantees the safety of the user. The latter will not need to be in direct contact with the body of the machine and the water jet.

Advantages of a water jet cutter

First of all, the power of a high pressure water jet machine makes it possible to cut even very thick (up to 200 mm) and very resistant metals. It can also process materials such as rubber, stone or even plastic. Furthermore, it is possible to obtain smooth cutting edges without necessarily going through a machining phase. The average defect tolerance is 0.2 mm. In addition, operators will not have to deal with cooling, since the contact of water with the part does not produce heat. So it's totally different from grinding wheels or steel cutters. At the same time, certain deformations are avoided.

In addition, water jet machines also achieve higher cutting speed. Indeed, the processing time of a part is considerably shortened. Additional options may vary by cutter model. The market offers a very extensive catalog, but it is possible to obtain a custom tool by ordering from specialized manufacturers. You have to be careful to maintain your machine well for optimal use. Moreover, the suppliers themselves offer a regular maintenance service.

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