Waterjet cutting has been in use since the 1950’s when Dr. Norman Franz discovered the innovative method. While originally utilized to help engineers cut lumber, waterjet cutting is now an effective method for cutting almost any flat material, including stainless steel and aluminum.
Waterjets use a simple process of high pressure streamed water which allows for the materials to be cut or cleaned. Oftentimes, the cutter is connected to a high-pressure water pump with water being ejected from a nozzle, which then cuts directly through the material. Abrasives may also be added to help in cutting specific materials.
While waterjet cutting can be used for a number of different materials, there are at least five benefits for cutting aluminum and stainless steel.
1. The Waterjets Capacity. Waterjets are extremely powerful and have the ability to cut through almost any thickness of aluminum and stainless steel.
2. Waterjets do not require heat Waterjet cutting is the preferred method for those materials that are sensitive to higher temperatures that are often created when using alternative methods. The no heat-affected zone (HAZ) minimizes the effects of heat, which allows for metal to be cut without damaging the surface.
3. Waterjet cutting is considered to be one of the most effective methods in relation to precision when cutting. The precision of waterjets is high enough to state that the accuracy is 0.005″ and when repeated stands at 0.001″. Waterjets provides a burr-free finish. The burr-free finish eliminates the necessity of a secondary finishing process, which saves money.
4. Waterjets allows for projects to be completed in a quick and efficient manner. There isn’t much labor needed to use the waterjet. Waterjets have the fastest cutting time out of all the different ways for cutting materials. Materials rarely have to be re-cut when using the waterjet cutting process.
5. Using waterjet cutting allows for the materials to be cut in an environmentally sound manner. The waterjet cutting process is considered to be one of the more environmentally friendly of all the methods. During the process of cutting materials with the waterjet, there are no byproducts produced. Considering the large pieces of recyclable scrap metal or material can be cut, the waterjets prevent waste that occurs when using other cutting methods.
6. There are a number of environmental benefits to using waterjets to cut stainless steel and aluminum. Waterjets use very little water. Depending on the cutting head size, anywhere from one half gallon to one gallon of water will be utilized every minute. The water that is use can be recycled by using a closed-looped system. Waste water is often clean enough to filter and dispose of through a drain.
7. Using waterjet cutting allows for a safer work environment to be created. Waterjets eliminate airborne dust particles, smoke, fumes, and contaminants from cutting materials. Machinist exposure is reduced as well as any problems from bystander exposure through the use of waterjet cutting, which improves the work environment.