Waterjet technology has been used in industry for decades—some reports claim as early as the 1930s—with improvements to pumps, pressure, garnet, and motion control over the years. Abrasive waterjet systems have been used in the metal fabrication industry for 30 to 40 years. So what have been the technology’s top advancements?
We asked several waterjet OEMs—Flow; OMAX, a subsidiary of Hypertherm; KMT; TechniWaterjet; and American Machinery Group/Polaris Waterjet—to give us their spin on how they have advanced the technology over the years to improve cutting speed, cut quality, and user friendliness. In addition, fabricators Meyer Tool Huntersville and FedTech weighed in on which advances they have found to be the most useful to them.
After hundreds of installations of these PRO series 90,000-PSI pumps, end users are reporting up to 50% increase in cutting speed at 90,000-PSI compared to 60,000-PSI, as well as a 50% savings on the use of abrasive media. Cutting 50% faster has increased the capacity to manufacture more parts at a lower cost per finished product.
The longer the material stays on the machine being cut, the more it is costing the fabricator because of the overhead, including building costs, labor time, and utilities. Cutting faster costs less because everything associated with making the part is lessened.
Flow Intl. Global Vice President of System Sales Brian Sherick: The pump is at the heart of the waterjet cutting system because it pressurizes the water that is fed continuously to the cutting head. The higher pressure of the 94,000-PSI HyperJet pump translates directly into faster cutting speed when the water passes through the cutting head at its orifice. Increases of 30% to 50% in cutting speeds are a direct result of accelerating the waterjet stream to the fastest level available, by increasing pump pressure accordingly. Faster cutting speeds mean more parts can be cut, thereby increasing throughput and ROI.
Higher pressure also reduces the amount of garnet that is consumed during the cutting process, which can reduce the cost per part significantly—typically between 25% and 35%.
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