11 Water Jet Cutting Skills You Need | MachineMFG

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11 Water Jet Cutting Skills You Need

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1. Cutting thick materials

When cutting materials with a thickness of less than 2.5 mm, the output of medium (50 HP) or large (60 to 80 HP) cutting heads may not be optimal. In such cases, a smaller cutting head with a power of 25 HP can be used, and multi-head cutting can be considered as an option to enhance production efficiency.

2. Air gap is encountered during cutting

It is recommended to avoid having an air gap greater than 0.5mm when cutting. If the air gap is too large, the cutting nozzle may spread, resulting in a rough surface when cutting lower layers.

When stacking and cutting materials, it is important to keep the sheets neatly stacked together to ensure a smooth and precise cut.

3. Smaller abrasive mesh

Using a smaller number of abrasive meshes with a finer grit (120 mesh or finer) may slightly reduce cutting speed, but it can result in a smoother surface finish compared to using coarser grits such as 80 or 50 mesh.

4. Production cost is calculated per inch

Production costs for sanding water knives are calculated based on the length of material cut, rather than the time it takes to complete the cut. The hourly operating cost of a sanding water knife is not a significant factor in determining the cost-effectiveness of the process.

What is more important is the number of parts that can be produced within a given time period. Some users may mistakenly believe that reducing the flow rate of the abrasive mixture can minimize operating costs, but this is not the case.

While abrasives make up two-thirds of the operating costs for sanding water knives, it is crucial to produce parts efficiently to offset the recurring expenses such as labor, facility rental, and maintenance.

To maximize cutting speed and efficiency, it is recommended to utilize the full horsepower of the machine and to use the highest abrasive flow rate possible.

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5. Increase or decrease the water pressure through the controller

If you frequently cut composite materials, glass, and stone, it is important to ensure that your sanding water knife system has the capability to adjust the water pressure through the control unit. This will allow for more precise cuts on these types of materials.

Additionally, it is recommended to research and consider implementing vacuum-assisted technology or other advanced techniques to enhance the success rate when cutting delicate or laminated materials.

6. Control system specially designed for process

A control system specifically designed for sanding water knife cutting is typically more efficient and user-friendly compared to a general-purpose control system that handles multiple processes.

7. Automatic loading and unloading

Most sanding water knife machines do not utilize automatic up-and-down technology, such as shuttles. Only when the cost of material handling constitutes a significant portion of the production cost, should the option of automatic landing be considered.

In the majority of cases, sanding water knives are loaded and unloaded manually, or with the assistance of simple tools like crown blocks, boom cranes, or forklifts.

8. Ordinary tap water

The sanding water knife system typically uses tap water. For 90% of users, it is sufficient to simply soften the water before it enters the pump through the inlet filter.

However, some users choose to purify the water using reverse osmosis (RO) and deionization technologies to create “demineralized” water. This type of water readily absorbs ions from its surroundings, such as metals in pumps and high-pressure pipes.

While these purification technologies can significantly extend the lifespan of the nozzle, they can also cause expensive damage to the pump and high-pressure pipes. The cost of replacing the damaged components, such as the high-pressure cylinder, check valve, and end cover, can far outweigh the benefits of a longer-lasting nozzle.

9. Underwater cutting

Underwater cutting can minimize the atomization of the surface or upper edge that often occurs during the sanding water knife cutting process. Additionally, cutting underwater can significantly reduce the noise level and create a cleaner and more organized work environment.

The main disadvantage of underwater cutting is that the operator cannot observe the spray cutting clearly during the cutting process. However, if the operator is not in favor of underwater cutting, an electronic performance monitor can be considered as an alternative solution.

These monitors can detect any deviations in cutting performance and automatically stop the machine before any damage to the parts occurs.

10. Different abrasive mesh

If you plan to use a variety of abrasive mesh sizes for different cutting tasks, it is advisable to have a sand bucket on hand, whether it be a small one with a capacity of 100 pounds or a larger one with a capacity of 500 to 2000 pounds.

If the sand bucket is not equipped to handle the number of mesh sizes you frequently use, this could result in production interruptions and make the process more cumbersome.

11. Reserved reclaiming port

Having a reserved reclaim opening can significantly improve the efficiency and convenience of cutting materials with a thickness of less than 8mm. Although this opening typically requires secondary processing to remove the extraction points, it can make the overall material handling process faster. The cutting and slicing of parts are still integrated, making it easier to unload.

It is important to note that the size of the reserved reclaim opening should be smaller for harder materials.

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