Waterjet machine and the process involved in it is considered to be among the fastest growing and most versatile cutting processes. It has been playing an important role in manufacturing industries across the globe. Waterjet itself replaces or complements other technologies such as EDM, laser, milling, plasma and routers. Due to its numerous advantages, it has become one of the most preferred processes for machine shops and fabricators.
If you decide to incorporate the process in your operation, you should note that choosing the right configuration needs careful evaluation. At the same time, your business requirements and even customer base should all be assessed.
You also need to know some of the most important considerations before deciding to use waterjet for your operations. Below are some of them.
How to Select the Right Waterjet Machine
First and foremost, it is important that you identify the kinds of materials that you will be working with for your operation. Speaking of which, some of the major considerations you need to bear in mind include: material stock size, current and potential material type, part shape, and material thickness.
Types of Material
For most shop contract cutters, it’s typical for them to use mild steel, but they are also cutting less common materials like glass, titanium, stone, or steel alloys which make the waterjet cutting process to yield more margins. The key here is the versatility of the waterjet.
Using the same equipment for all types of materials maximizes machine utilization and of course, return on investment.
Material Size and Thickness
The size and thickness of materials that you wish to cut will determine the number and power of cutting heads, the size of the work bed, and pump requirements.
If you have a thin material that is not stackable due to small batch size, what you can do to improve efficiency is to put power through two cutting heads with smaller jets. For such material, there is no need for larger jets because they do not cut faster than smaller ones. But for thicker materials you can increase your cut speed by opting for a larger single head and increasing the horsepower.
Moreover, the material support catcher and the size of the work bed need to be big enough in order to handle the largest plate or sheet that commonly cut.
Level of Precision
The majority of operations are machine shops and fabrication wherein each have its own specific needs in terms of cutting precision level. Generally, machine shops require more accuracy than fab shops. However, there are some shops that have the precision chip making equipment and welding equipment of fab shops.
These are just a few factors that should be taken into consideration if you plan on purchasing and using a waterjet machine for your different operations.