Waterjet Cutting Service
Waterjet cutting services are mostly used to cut very thick materials. Although it is more expensive than other cutting methods, it has its own place in the manufacturing industry. The ability to cut metals up to 200 mm thick without leaving heat affected zones makes it useful in many cases. It also stands out by providing excellent finishing quality.
Fractory’s manufacturing network offers capabilities to cut metals up to 200 mm thick. This applies to carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminium, etc. If you need such waterjet cutting services, be aware that materials with this kind of thickness may not be available in stock.
When cutting materials up to 50 mm, we advise to go with plasma cutting because of lower costs. Oxyfuel cutting is an alternative up to 150 mm. Although it is definitely a cheaper option, it cannot cut aluminium and the quality is in waterjet cutting’s favour.
What is Waterjet Cutting?
Simply put, it is another way of cutting materials, including metals. The main difference between waterjet cutting and other cutting methods is that it is a non-thermal process. Non-thermal means it does not use heat. It is rather a mechanical process where material is removed by physical contact and material wear.
Cutting with water is possible because of the waterjet’s speed. It’s supersonic, meaning it comes out of the nozzle at a quicker speed than sound travels. But water alone could not cut such a wide range of materials. Therefore, abrasives are added to the mix. The abrasive material is usually crushed garnet. You may recall it as the stone that makes sandpaper rough.
Using high pressures, the abrasives hit the material at a great speed. This erodes away the metal bit by bit. The pressure for waterjet cutting is usually around 380 MPa but newer systems use pressures up to 620 MPa.
As the material removal is gradual, the temperatures cannot rise high. And any possibility of this happening is eliminated by the use of water. The waterjet is straight throughout its path, providing a straight cut along the material thickness.
Waterjet Cutting Advantages
No heat-affected zone – Typically, thermal cutting methods leave a HAZ. This hardens the edges of the cut. Waterjet cutting, on the other hand, provides a result without hardening, distorting or warping the material.
Cuts almost any material – Although our waterjet cutting service focuses mainly on metal cutting, it can actually be used for pretty much anything. Some examples include rubber, foam, plastics, glass and of course metal.
Outstanding precision – The tolerances are close to +/-0.15 mm. Fractory’s manufacturing partners can produce very accurate results using their CNC machinery.
Great cutting quality – Waterjet cutting can provide excellent results that don’t need additional finishing processes. The quality, however, depends on the cutting speed. Slower speed leaves a smoother finish but this, in turn, raises the costs.
Environmental impact – This is a growing concern with many manufacturing methods. Waterjet cutting helps to reduce hazardous waste compared to other cutting possibilities. There are no dangerous gases or fumes created as a by-product.