Water jet cutting is an appealing choice for those wanting an accurate cut, with no danger of heat damage or micro abrasions to the cut edge.
Is it a practical choice though? Can a water jet cut through a significant depth of material?
Luckily, this is an easy question to answer.
The depth of cut possible will depend on the pressure of the water jet, as pressures have increased in recent decades so has the possibility to cut through greater thicknesses.
At TMC Water jet, we can cut up to a pressure of 87,000 PSI, a rate that puts us up with the leading global water jet cutters. This pressure can cut through up to 250 mm of virtually any material.
It is worth noting that this is a minimum of 250 mm of virtually any material; in many instances a far greater depth could be cut through.
The depth of cut applies to metals, plastics, ceramics and more – even armour plating and bulletproof glass can be cut to a significant depth.
As for what water jet cutting cannot cut through – very little beyond diamonds. Any quality water jet cutter can discuss your individual job requirements, talking you through what depth is possible and how your cut would be undertaken.
The depth of cut available is one of the great advantages of water jet cutting. By way of comparison, lasers can typically only cut through 2.5cm of any material. For all their reputation for power, lasers are actually quite underpowered!
The power of water jet cutting comes from the fact that the process is simply accelerated erosion, and the power of that force is obvious to anyone who has seen a coastline. The water with abrasive garnet eats away at the edge to be cut, but with no heat generated there is no danger of damage to the cut edge (an important consideration for parts where structural integrity is paramount)
Complex and deep…
Water jet cutting is also the technology that can cut through complex, three-dimensional parts in one motion thanks to a relatively new technology called XD cutting.
XD cutting is a cutting head that can move through multiple axes, this removing the need for re-cutting. A part does not have to be cut in one dimension, then manually moved and cut through another pane; it all happens in one cut, saving both time and expense and also reducing the risk of any errors being introduced.
We have written previously on the benefits of water jet cutting and how versatile a technology it is. You can read those posts by following the links below:
Can water jet cutting handle your job?
Without wishing to sound arrogant, almost certainly! Water jets can cut through almost any material and that to a depth 10 times greater than a laser can manage. Advanced water jets can also cut complex 3-d parts in one fluid motion.
If you would like to discuss any jobs you might have, please do get in touch with us at TMC Waterjet, we love discussing all things water jet! You can mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01625 610 441.