There are a couple critical attributes of waterjet cutting that set it apart from traditional technologies such as, machining, laser, plasma, EDM wire cut, etc.
One of its most prominent attributes if the fact that the cost of running a waterjet machine is cheap. After all things are considered its only costs about $14.00/hr to run a waterjet cutter.
Then once you add on top the product material cost, Labor hours, profit percentage, etc., you get your final price.
There is an additional price if you require the abrasive compound, this can typically range between $0.20-$0.35 per lb and can be used at a rate up to $35.00/hr depending on the power of the pump and amount of time you spent cutting.
Apart from the initial running costs, waterjet cutting provides other cost saving benefits such as fast transition time from drawing to cutting, a fast cutting speed and a fast setup time as low tangential forces often eliminate the need for clamping.
No Chemicals or Heat
Because this process uses only water and granite to erode the material it is technically a cold cutting process and any heat that may be produced by the erosion process is instantly cooled by the water stream. Therefore, warping, distortion and material hardening typically associated with laser, plasma and machining is eliminated, minimizing the need for secondary processing.
It is also safer for operators and the environment as it produces no vapor or smoke and any dust particles produced by the erosion process is trapped in the water and is filtered out safely later.
As mentioned before waterjet cutting is used is almost every industry due to its capability to cut almost any material relatively cheaply, all without altering the properties of the material. Materials ranging from 0.010″ acrylic all the way to 10” thick stainless steel can be cut by waterjet. Thin materials can even be stacked to increase productivity and lower costs.
These machines are available with various table sizes from 0.5m x 1.5m to 2m x 4m, but some machines are custom made and can incorporate massive table sizes of 4m x 18m and run multiple heads.
Precision or near-net shape cutting
Tolerances tighter than +/- 0.005″ are achievable when using the Q5 finish, especially in thinner materials such as 1″ stainless steel, and because the cutting speed can be altered mid cut, it allows parts to have multiple edge qualities.
Read more: Pros and Cons of Waterjet Cutting
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