Water Jet Cutting is increasingly being used to make precision parts for industries and clients from aviation to formula 1; from artists to medicine.
However there are certain types of jobs water jet cutting is particularly suited for; others where another cutting technology might be better suited.
Here we take a look at categories of cutting tasks where water jet cutting should come into consideration.
Water jet cutting is perhaps best described as accelerated erosion.
Whereas other cutting technologies create heat in cutting, and so risk causing micro abrasions, tears and potentially causing structural damage, water jet cutting does not damage the structural integrity of the item being cut.
This means that when cutting detailed parts, which need extreme accuracy but also to remain structurally sound, water jet cutting is increasingly the go-to choice. It is a technology used for part cuttings by Boeing and formula 1 teams for example.
It often surprises people to learn that water jet cutting can cut to far greater depths than other technologies. The assumption is often that a powerful laser jet would be far more effective in cutting through thick steel, plastic or similar.
Incredibly water jet cutting is around 10 times more effective. Laser jet cutting can be a very effective choice for thin, simple cuts up to 25 millimetres. However, water jet cutting can cut through up to 25 centimetres depth of most materials.
The turn around time for any job of course depends in part on the complexity of the cut. However, with water jet cutting the head is controlled by precise computer software – once the design of the cut is uploaded, the machine can be left to do its thing, overseen by a skilled technician.
The typical turnaround for a water jet cutting job is around three to four days, from creating the template for the heads to follow to shipping the part to the customer.
For relatively simple jobs, the turnaround is generally similar to that of other cutting technologies; where water jet cutting can really save time (and money) is with more complex jobs. This brings us to…
Some water jet cutters now offer XD Cutting, if we are allowed a slight brag TMC were the first UK subcontractor to offer this service.
XD Cutting is 3 dimensional cutting; the cutting head moving through complex angles to cut complex shapes. Previously, jobs such as this would have required a multi stage cutting process, potentially using different technologies.
By amalgamating the whole process into one cut you of course save time and also money ads the whole job is quicker and more efficient.
Laser cutting can produce thinner cuts as it has a thinner minimum cutting slit. This means that for simple cuts of thin material it can be a good option – it is certainly one to consider.
However, water jet cutting, while having a marginally wider cutting slit, benefits from producing cuts which are not affected by heat damage or micro abrasions.
For complex cutting jobs, ones where structural integrity has to be maintained, or when a thick material is being cut, water jet cutting comes into its own. For thin, quick jobs you might want to compare a range of quotes from different types of cutter.
If you would like to know any more about water jet cutting, please get in touch by phone or email.