Water jet metal cutting in San Francisco, CA is one of the most rapidly growing machining methods available in the area. But does that mean it’s really better than the more familiar forms of cutting like lasers and plasma? Although plasma cutting has its own benefits, water jet cutting is superior for one particular reason: it doesn’t use heat to cut through materials.
Plasma cutters basically channel superheated gases to cut through raw materials. Although this is a very effective way to cut through metals, there are certain side effects of using such extreme heat.
Water jet cutting, on the other hand, is referred to as “cold cutting” because it’s unique process requires no extra heat. In fact, because only high pressure water and abrasives are used, water jet cutting generates very little heat, even from friction. Because of this, there are some very real advantages of choosing cold cutting over plasma cutting:
No heat affected zone
The heat affected zone (HAZ), refers to the area of the material being cut that is affected by the heat from the plasma cutter. Extreme heat affects the “virgin” quality of the material. HAZ surfaces can burn, melt or even become more brittle. These changes affect the overall quality of the material and the performance of the end product.
Water jet cutting, on the other hand, uses no heat, so there is no risk of burning, melting or affecting the material in any way.
Cold cutting, because high pressure water is used, is typically faster than plasma cutting. Cold cutting also reduces overall production time because there is little to no need for clamping or bracing materials during set-up. You also save time by not having to wait for materials to “cool down” before moving on to the next step in production.
Cold cutting also offers a level of precision that you just can’t get with plasma cutting. Because you are dealing with a very small area for the pressurized water to flow through, you have greater control over the cuts being made. This is why cold cutting is used for more detailed cuts, like geometric shapes or designs.
Cold cutting can be used to cut a wider variety of materials than plasma cutting. Plasma cutting can only be used to cut materials that can handle the extreme heat. Plasma can also only be used on fairly even surfaces. Cold cutting, on the other hand, can be used on a wide range of materials and more irregular surfaces.
If you were interested in water jet metal cutting in San Francisco, CA, but you were unsure of the benefits, now you know that “cold cutting” offers certain advantages that you just can’t get with plasma cutting. Cold cutting will not only help you avoid the heat affected zone on your materials, but it will also help with production times, precision, and the variety of materials you can work with.