Benefits of a 5-Axis Waterjet Cutting Machine

5-axis waterjet cutting

It’s no secret that the 5-axis waterjet cutting machine is the most advanced cutting tool on the market. Whether you work in manufacturing or do your fair share of home improvement projects, at some point you’ve had to cut something and were met with frustration. Whether you were unable to get the precise cut you needed or were frustrated by the need to go back and finish each of your edges, a 5-axis waterjet cutting machine could’ve made your life a lot easier. In this article, we’ll first explain what a waterjet is and then dive into exactly what makes the 5-axis waterjet superior to all other cutting machines. 

What is Waterjet Cutting?

A waterjet is a tool used for cutting through a variety of materials using either abrasive or pure cutting. Pure cutting is, as it sounds, the cleanest form of water cutting and works by guiding an incredibly strong jet of water onto a material to obtain a precise cut. Pure cutting works best on softer materials like wood, rubber, and fabric. When you need to cut through materials like stone, tile, glass, and metal, you need to use abrasive cutting. Utilizing a combination of water and an abrasive substance, abrasive cutting starts out similarly to pure cutting but mixes abrasive particles with water as it accelerates. The mixture of water and abrasive particles shooting through the waterjet at high velocity allows the waterjet to cut through almost any material.

What is a 5-axis Waterjet?

Waterjets typically have three axes: Y for back and forth movement, X for left and right movement, and Z for up and down movement. 5-axis waterjets add two additional axes: the A-axis for perpendicular movement and the C-axis for rotation around the Z-axis. The addition of these two axes gives the 5-axis waterjet the ability to create cuts beyond the traditional back and forth or left and right movements, providing an extreme level of precision that traditional cutting methods can’t hold a candle to.

When manufacturing a product, it’s critical to get everything just right. If an angle is slightly off or an edge gets chipped, you risk having to start all over. For the sake of both durability and customer retention, precision cannot be compromised when creating a product. In the past, manufacturers and builders had a frustratingly hard time attempting to obtain perfection with traditional cutting tools. The cutting-edge technology of the 5-axis waterjet can cut with any level of intricacy you need and to a variety of depths. 

Benefits of a 5-Axis Waterjet

Versatility.

Waterjets can cut through virtually anything, including rubber, stone, tile, glass, and metal. They can also cut through both single-layered and multi-layered materials, so you can get more done at once. EDM cutting only has the ability to cut through conductive materials, and plasma and laser cutting methods primarily cut through steel, making waterjets the most versatile cutting tool on the market.

Clean cuts.

Waterjets use a cold cutting process, meaning no heat or stress is imparted onto the materials you’re cutting. Due to the absence of heat, the materials being cut are protected against exposure to high temperatures that can alter the physical structure of the material, an issue seen in plasma, EDM, and laser cutting methods. Cold cutting also leaves you with perfectly smooth edges, eliminating the need for the edge clean-up you would need after using one of the traditional cutting methods.

Cost-effectiveness.

The parts used for waterjet cutting machines are typically cut from sheet or plate material and do not require any special materials like clamps, fixtures, or tool changes. This allows for a more cost-effective process, as well as shorter production times.

Less noise.

Waterjet cutting machines can be used be while submerged in water, which significantly reduces the amount of noise required to make precise cuts. Traditional cutting methods can get extremely loud, which can be distracting and even harmful to workers.

Environmentally-friendly.

Unlike some traditional cutting methods, waterjets do not create chemical waste or hazardous material. Waterjet cutters can also be used with a closed-loop system, which would keep any water from being wasted.

Safer to use.

Because there are no harmful fumes involved, no risk of fires, and far less airborne dust, waterjets are safer than many other tools used for cutting. The cold cutting process used with waterjet cutting eliminates the heat used in other cutting methods like plasma, laser, or EDM, making for a much safer system.

Easier maintenance.

Because no additional materials like clamps or fixtures are needed, setup and maintenance are much simpler than that of other cutting machines. This means that workers can spend less time on ensuring that the machine is ready to use and more time getting the work done for customers.

Who Uses Waterjets?

5-axis waterjets gained immense popularity in the manufacturing industry for their ability to cut through almost any material. However, they are used by workers in a variety of industries to cut through substances like glass, metal, and stone due to their high precision, cost-efficiency, and speed. There are very few things waterjets can’t cut through, including tempered glass and diamonds. Diamonds are too hard to cut and tempered glass, often used in windshields, is designed to shatter when met with force.

Due to their versatility, 5-axis waterjets are often found being used for manufacturing, art, car production, aerospace, and even university engineering classes. If you have cutting needs, going to a company that specializes in waterjet cutting is highly preferable over a parts manufacturer or machine shop in order to ensure that you’re getting the best and most efficient service available.

Why Trust ICS?

Intelligent Cutting Solutions (ICS) was created by two people who had been working in the aerospace industry for over a decade. In realizing there was a gap in the waterjet cutting industry, ICS was formed to specialize in waterjet cutting and nothing else. What you don’t want is to go to a parts manufacturer that happens to have a waterjet in house and has the capability of taking waterjet cutting orders on top of all their other services. That’s how mistakes are made, orders don’t get completed on time, and customer service ends up lacking.

At ICS, we are a team of experts who are 100% dedicated to waterjet cutting services, meaning our customers get a faster turnaround, top-notch customer service, and a higher level of waterjet cutting expertise than they could find anywhere else. When you work with the top experts, you’re going to the top equipment. The state of the art waterjet cutting machines used at ICS have the fastest speeds and best accuracy in the industry. All of our waterjets are equipped with Dynamic XD, the latest in 5-axis technology. The Dynamic XD technology allows our waterjet cutting machines to cut out even the most complex 3-D shapes, using a cutting head wrist articulation with motion capability of up to 89 degrees.

Whether it’s glass or rubber, the 5-axis waterjet cutting machine is far superior to any other cutting machine you could choose from. Between the versatility, precise cuts, and cost-efficiency provided by 5-axis technology, traditional cutting methods are simply no longer able to compete.

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