UK Trade Services for Waterjet Cutting
Welcome to the UK's Leading Waterjet cutting specialists to the trade.
Established in 2007 to service a range of industries, including Oil & Gas, Engineering, Fabrication, Medical, Motorsport and Packaging Industries, with over a 40 years experience in the signage industry working as trade sign makers, we offer a personal service, ensuring professional approach from enquiry through to delivery of components.
Using only the best machine tools available in today’s market, Waterjet signs offer a personal service, with prompt turn around on all orders and quotations alike.
What is Waterjet Cutting
A water jet cutter is a tool capable of slicing into metal or other materials using a jet of water at high velocity and pressure, or a mixture of water and an abrasive substance.
The process is essentially the same as water erosion found in nature but greatly accelerated and concentrated. It is often used during fabrication or manufacture of parts for machinery and other devices.
It has found applications in a diverse number of industries from mining to aerospace where it is used for operations such as cutting, shaping, carving, and reaming.
In the 1950s, forestry engineer Dr. Norman Franz experimented with an early form of water jet cutter to cut lumber. However, the technology did not advance notably until the 1970s when Dr. Mohamed Hashish created a technique to add abrasives to the water jet cutter. Today the water jet is unparalleled in many aspects of cutting and has changed the way many products are manufactured. Many types of water jets exist today, including plain water jets, abrasive water jets, percussive water jets, cavitation jets and hybrid jets.
A waterjet cutter is a specialist tool, The cutter is commonly connected to a high-pressure water pump where the water is then ejected from the nozzle, cutting through the material by spraying it with the jet of high-speed water.
Additives in the form of suspended grit or other abrasives, such as garnet and aluminum oxide, can assist in this process. Because the nature of the cutting stream can be easily modified, water jets can be used to cut diverse materials, from prepared foods to metals.
There are few materials that cannot be effectively cut with a water jet cutter; one of these is tempered glass, which shatters when cut, regardless of the cutting technology used. Certain ceramics are also resistant to water jet cutting.
Water jet cuts are not typically limited by the thickness of the material, and are capable of cutting materials over twelve inches (30 cm) thick. The penetrating power of these tools has led to the exploration of their use as anti-tank weapons but, due to their short range and the advent of composite armor, research was discontinued.
An important benefit of the water jet cutter is the ability to cut material without interfering with the material's inherent structure as there is no "heat-affected zone" or HAZ. Minimizing the effects of heat allows metals to be cut without harming or changing intrinsic properties.
Water jet cutters are also capable of producing rather intricate cuts in material. The kerf, or width, of the cut can be changed by changing parts in the nozzle, as well as the type and size of abrasive.
Typical abrasive cuts are made with a kerf in the range of 0.04" to 0.05" (1.016 to 1.27 mm), but can be as narrow as 0.02" (0.508 mm). Non-abrasive cuts are normally 0.007" to 0.013" (0.178 to 0.33 mm), but can be as small as 0.003" (0.076 mm), which is approximately the size of a human hair. These small cutters can make very small detail possible in a wide range of applications.
Waterjet is considered a "green" technology. Waterjets produce no hazardous waste, reducing waste disposal costs.
They can cut off large pieces of reusable scrap material that might have been lost using traditional cutting methods. Parts can be closely nested to maximize material use, and the waterjet saves material by creating very little kerf.
Waterjets use very little water (a half gallon to approximately one gallon per minute depending on cutting head orifice size), and the water that is used can be recycled using a closed-looped system.
Waste water usually is clean enough to filter and dispose of down a drain. The garnet abrasive is a non-toxic natural substance that can be recycled for repeated use. Garnet usually can be disposed of in a landfill. Waterjets also eliminate airborne dust particles, smoke, fumes, and contaminates from cutting materials such as asbestos and fiberglass. This greatly improves the work environment and reduces problems arising from operator exposure.
The versatility of the waterjet allows it to be used in nearly every industry. There are many different materials that the waterjet can cut. Some of them have unique characteristics that require special attention when cutting. Each material you cut will have some unique characteristics that have to be taken into account.
Materials commonly cut with waterjet include rubber, foam, plastics, composites, stone, tile, metals, food, paper and much more. The only materials that cannot be cut with waterjet are tempered glass, diamonds and certain ceramics.
Advantages of Waterjet
Cut Without Heat
Waterjet technology is ideal for cutting heat-sensitive material. Costs due to thermal distortion of machine parts are eliminated. Risk of fatigue failure resulting from process-induced thermal stressing and associated material structural change is minimized.
Waterjets can hold an accuracy of 0.005 inch with a repeatability of 0.001 inch over the entire work envelope.
No Sharpening Required
Unlike conventional cutting tools, waterjets cut with a supersonic stream of water that never dulls. With waterjet, you will never need to shut down to sharpen or clean blades.
Minimize Dust and Toxic Fumes
The practical elimination of airborne dust particles, smoke, fumes, and contaminates from cutting materials such as asbestos and fiberglass greatly improves the work environment and reduces problems arising from operator exposure.
No Finishing Operation Required
Selection of appropriate cutting parameters such as operating pressure, material feed rate, abrasive particle size, and flow rate can eliminate the need for secondary operations. Water Jet systems also reduce machining time and production costs.
Non-Contact Cutting and Cleanliness
USDA-approved equipment designs promote the use of ultra-high pressure waterjet streams in the sanitary cutting of food products. Using UHP waterjet results in higher cutting speeds and the elimination of associated downtime incurred for cleaning and resharpening delicate blades. One of the biggest advantages is that fixturing associated with other machining methods is minimized.
Near Zero Lateral Cutting Force
Water Jet systems reduce fixturing costs plus avoid excessive stress to finished parts. Also, minimal lateral force simplifies material handling and allows cutting close to material edges.
Minimum Waste Material
With typical orifice diameters in the range of 0.003 – 0.030 inches, waterjet kerf width is kept to a minimum, thus maximizing material utilization.
Waterjet cut profiles are not confined to straight-line geometries. Part complexity is limited only by the motion control system specified and traditional start holes are eliminated.
Waterjets produce no hazardous waste, reducing waste disposal costs. They can cut off large pieces of reusable scrap material that might have been lost using traditional cutting methods.
Parts can be closely nested to maximize material use, and the waterjet saves material by creating very little kerf. Waterjets use very little water (a half gallon to approximately one gallon per minute depending on cutting head orifice size), and the water that is used can be recycled using a closed-looped system.
Waste water usually is clean enough to filter and dispose of down a drain. The garnet abrasive is a non-toxic natural substance that can be recycled for repeated use. Garnet usually can be disposed of in a landfill.