Water Jet Cutting is a manufacturing process that uses a high-pressure water jet to carve out individual pieces and designs. Sometimes, abrasive sand is mixed in with the water when cutting through tougher materials like concrete or steel.
Traditional manufacturing processes employ plasma or laser cutters; however, those come with many disadvantages like heat damage and increased post-cutting finishing operations. Using a water jet minimizes most of the disadvantages associated with traditional processes. A water jet also lends itself to uses other than cutting. Here are some of the advantages of using a water jet cutter.
When metal is heated to a certain temperature, imperfections like warping and other changes in the material can occur. Laser cutters use a high-intensity beam of light that’s hot enough to go through most materials. Although effective, the process involves a lot of rapid heating and melting, which often results in imperfections, as well as in the release of toxic gases.
Because a water jet cutter doesn’t use heat, there is no risk of warping in metal fabrication processes like cutting and shaping. Plus, a water jet cutter does not release any potentially toxic gases.
Laser cutters use high heat to melt and vaporize material. This process can cause burr, or rough edges, in the metal, which requires additional finishing processes like sanding and buffing, adding cost and time to manufacturing.
Experts at Advantage Manufacturing Ltd. conclude that water jet cutting reduces rough edges when abrasive sand is used with the water to create precise cuts. This minimizes, if not eliminates, the need for finishing operations, as there are no rough edges to sand or buff.
Water jets were initially introduced as high-pressure cleaners. However, manufacturing companies saw the advantage of using this kind of equipment as a tool cutter as well. Despite this shift in usage, water jets are still used in several manufacturing processes like paint cleaning and concrete removal. Using water jets for these processes reduces the risk of heat damage, which is definitely a benefit to manufacturers.