When it comes to cutting just about any type of material,waterjets are very effective. You simply take ordinary tap water and subject it to extreme pressure before forcing through a really small hole. In many cases, an abrasive is added to this pressurised water and the net effect is that this will rapidly erode just about any material known.
How Does This Work?
Waterjet technology is in widespread use today because it is very easy to use, flexible, quite precise and very efficient. The water is pressurised so much and the dimension of the hole so small that when released the water is said to be travelling very close to the speed of sound. It's possible to add abrasive quite efficiently as the velocity of the water passing through the end of the nozzle naturally creates a vacuum which is able to pull the abrasive product from a supply line adjacent. It is the force of the water forced through the hole which is able to accelerate these abrasive particles to such a speed that they can cut through very hard materials.
When the machine is moved in a controlled fashion across the surface beneath then it can be used to cut very intricate shapes. It's crucial to control the speed of the nozzle and the movement of the machine in order to create finished products economically and efficiently.
What Are the Advantages?
Waterjets can be used to cut a very large variety of materials including aluminium, brass and copper, mild or pre-hardened steel, stainless steel and even exotic materials such as titanium. The jets can also be used to cut brittle materials such as ceramic, stone or glass. However, they're not able to cut tempered glass (such as found in a windshield) as this type of glass is manufactured under stress and would shatter if you try to cut it.
No additional tools are required when setting up waterjets for operation. There is no need to change a cutting head according to different types of materials and no programming changes are required either. Typically, a CAD program is engaged according to the finished result required. This means that little work is required by the operator other than to load the program and initiate.
You don't need to worry too much about material moving during the operation as no sideway forces are generated. Typically, only small weights are required to position the material.
Very little heat is generated and what does materialise is absorbed by water and removed to the catch tank. The result is that there is no risk of material hardening due to heat, or in the generation of noxious fumes.
Finally, they are very safe to use, so long as you use common sense and do not put your hands in harm's way! If the high-pressure water system did develop a leak this would immediately result in a water pressure drop to safe levels. For more information, contact a business such as Chassis Line.