While there are many options when selecting a cutting process, none quite match the versatility and flexibility of waterjet cutting. Waterjet cutting is a process that first emerged in the 1800s but has since advanced dramatically. In the 1930’s the waterjet technology was first used outside of the mining industry, in the 1950’s ultra-high pressure water systems were explored, in 1970 the method was commercialized, and, finally, in the 1980s abrasive cutting was developed. These advancements in technology have expanded the use of waterjet cutting and allowed numerous industries to take advantage of the process in their manufacturing operations. Despite being such an exceptional development, many people aren't aware of the advantages of utilizing waterjet cutting. Keep on reading to learn the top 10 compelling reasons why you need waterjet cutting for your next project!
#1 No Thermal Distortion or Damage
Waterjet cutting is a cold cutting erosion process that uses a mixture of high-pressurized water and garnet (sand) to cut through the material. This process has no heat input which means there is no thermal distortion or damage to the materials being cut. Alternative processes such as plasma, laser, and EDM cutting all require a heat input which results in thermal damage and distortion to some degree.
#2 Capable of Cutting Various Material
Unlike other fabrication techniques, waterjet cutting is a process that can handle virtually any material. This technology allows you to cut metals, stone, ceramic, plastics, rubber, foam, composites and, even glass. Comparable cutting methods typically only allow for the cutting of metals, primarily steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.
#3 High Machine Accuracy
Waterjet cutting is a highly accurate process. State-of-the-art waterjet machines can achieve a parts tolerance of +/- .001”. In addition, ICS exclusively uses the Flow waterjet machines, which are known for their accuracy and minimal kerfs. The minimal kerf (.30" -.40"), is a result of the extremely narrow stream. It is for this reason that waterjet cutting is often the preferred choice for cutting precision parts and is utilized in the aerospace & aviation industry.
#4 Large Scale Cutting Capacity
Waterjet machines vary in terms of table size but can support both small and large-scale projects. Typical table sizes range from smaller machines such as a 5’ x 5’ machine and can be as large as 27’ x 14’. At ICS we have two Flow Mach 500 machines which have a table size of 10’ x 14’ and one Flow Mach 300 machine with a 5’ x 10’ table size.
#5 Multiple Cutting Axis Capabilities
Precision abrasive waterjet cutting is made possible by having multiple cutting axes available. All ICS machines feature 2-axis and 3-axis cutting, and our two Mach 500 machines also possess 5-axis cutting capabilities. This technology allows you to cut practically any shape including those which have bevels.
#6 No Edge Cleanup Necessary
With traditional cutting methods such as plasma and laser cutting, heavy deburring and slag removal are often required. Waterjet cutting however eliminates the need for these finishing processes and parts can be used as-is after cutting is complete.
#7 Qualified to Cut Thick Materials
One of the main characteristics which differentiate waterjet cutting from other processes is its ability to cut thick materials. Waterjet cutting allows you to cut varying materials up to an impressive 11” in thickness. In comparison plasma can cut material up to 3” in thickness and laser can cut up to 1” in thickness.
#8 Superior Edge Quality
Edge quality is one of the most compelling reasons why industry professionals prefer waterjet cutting. The waterjet cutting process produces a smooth and uniform edge, even on thicker materials. Edge quality is so exceptional because of the machine's pressure, speed, and small nozzle size.
#9 Efficient & Cost Effective
Waterjet cutting is an efficient and cost-effective process because of the high level of precision. Waterjet cutting reduces kerf, which means that by implementing this cutting process you can save money on waste disposal, and allows you to maximize material utilization. Many professionals are also able to streamline the process and save additional time by cutting stacked material.
#10 Versatility of Industry Utilization
Waterjet cutting is exceptionally versatile and can be utilized in almost every industry. While a lot of Intelligent Cutting Solution’s work does come from the aerospace & aviation industry, we also serve the medical, defense, automotive, and architectural industries.
At ICS we offer contract waterjet cutting services for both small and large scale projects. Our team works to educate the industry on the importance and significance of waterjet cutting for manufacturing. Waterjet cutting has transformed manufacturing and changed the game for abrasive cutting!