Waterjet technology is a type of cutting process used in a wide variety of industrial settings. The general idea is that it works by using supersonic water (or a combination of water and an abrasive) to quickly erode material in a cutting pattern.
This means waterjets have some limitations in the types of materials they can cut. These materials must be able to erode by use of water or water mixtures.
Here’s a quick overview about how water jet cutting in San Francisco, CA works and the different types of waterjet cutting that exist.
Waterjet cutting is actually a pretty simple concept, even if it’s not necessarily simple in execution. It really only involves three steps:
- Generating water pressure: For the water to be able to cut away the material in question, it must have a high amount of pressure behind it. Ultrahigh pressure pumps used for waterjet cutting are able to generate streams of water up to 94,000 psi. To put this figure into perspective, consider how powerful a fire hose is. That typically pumps out water at a rate of 390 to 1,200 psi.
- Turn that pressure into velocity: Waterjet cutting equipment uses a small jewel orifice to convert that water pressure into velocity. The stream that results from this conversion could be as thin as a human hair used to cut softer materials.
- Bring in garnet: Cutting power can be enhanced by up to 1,000 times by bringing garnet into the waterjet stream. This mixture of water and garnet comes out from the cutting head on the waterjet application at approximately four times the speed of sound, making it capable of cutting through steel that’s more than a foot thick.
Not all waterjet cutting processes involve garnet, but the first two steps are found in any type of waterjet cutting process.
There are two different kinds of waterjet cutting: abrasive and pure. The use of these technologies allows you to use waterjet applications to cut through almost any material at any thickness or shape:
- Abrasive: Abrasive waterjet cutting involves a water/garnet mix. This garnet abrasive gets sucked into the head of the waterjet cutter through use of a venture vacuum. The resulting abrasive mixture allows you to cut through harder materials, such as stone, ceramic, metal, composite and glass.
- Pure: Pure waterjet cutting does not bring any garnet into the water, meaning you’re just using clean, pure water for cutting purposes. This option is typically used for softer materials, such as carpet, food, insulation, cement board, plastic, foam, paper, disposable diapers and automotive interiors.
Waterjet cutting is used in a wide variety of industries and applications, and is praised for its environmental friendliness and efficiency. To learn more about the processes and uses associated with waterjet cutting in San Francisco, CA, we encourage you to reach out to the team at Mach 1 Waterjet, Inc. today and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have for us.