Water jet cutting is quickly becoming the most preferred process of industrial cutting across many industries. Contractors in the construction industry love its clean cut, as do artists. Even heavy industries such as steel service centers and heavy equipment manufacturers are employing this process to cut their materials. In order to figure out why water jet cutting in San Francisco, CA is becoming so popular, it’s important to understand how the process works.
What Water Jet Cutting Isn’t
To truly understand what water jet cutting is, it’s important to clarify what it is not. Water jet cutting is not a thermal cutting process, such as plasma, oxy-fuel or laser cutting. It does not use extreme heat to make a cut. This is one of the main reasons for its popularity. While heat can often distort the material that is being cut, water jet cutting provides a cold cut, which keeps the material intact. Water jet cutting is also not a “saw” in the traditional sense. Blades that will need to be replaced are not used to make the cut. Instead, water jet cutting takes its inspiration from Mother Nature herself.
When we think of the most beautiful cut in the world, many of us think of the Grand Canyon. Mother Nature carved this breathtaking landscape through a process called erosion. Over time, water and the tiny particles of rock it carried slowly cut through the rock to give us the national treasure that we see today.
In water jet cutting, tiny pieces abrasives are mixed with water to make a clean cut. These tiny abrasives are typically made from crushed garnet, but may be made from other materials. Garnet a very hard rock that can be commonly found on sandpaper. Each tiny grain of garnet that passes against the material that is being cut will wear a little bit of the material away. The water and the abrasive are combined together in a mixing chamber right before the nozzle of the water jet cutting head sprays the combination onto the material.
You may be thinking that spraying water mixed with rock doesn’t seem like it would cut very well. The secret in making the cut is in the velocity in which the water and abrasive mixture is shot out of the nozzle. Spraying your garden hose on a rock isn’t likely to cut anything, but spraying a mixture of rock and water at extremely high speeds will definitely cut the rock clean into two.
Two forces are at work in creating the speed needed to make the cut. One is the water pressure capable of being produced by the jet. Typical water jet cutting pressure is somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 PSI, but newer systems can be pressurized up to 90,000 PSI. The other force at work is in reducing the size of the orifice in the nozzle to somewhere between five to 15 thousands of an inch diameter. The combination of these two factors creates a narrow stream of water and rock that is moving faster than the speed of sound!
The intense focus of the water mixture makes for a clean, perfect cut on the first attempt. This narrow stream of water is electronically monitored with the latest software. The jet is completely integrated and controlled by a computer. It can be programmed with just the right amount of pressure and the precise movements to create the exact cut that is desired. Since the cut is cold, with no heat applied, the cut will be clean and smooth to the touch. The amount of focus a water jet cutter can produce in cutting really should give us pause when we use the term “laser-like” focus. Perhaps “water jet-like” focus is more appropriate!
Choose the Best for Water Jet Cutting in San Francisco, CA
Choosing a service for water jet cutting in San Francisco, CA shouldn’t be a difficult decision. One provider stands above the rest in experience and customer service. Mach 1 Waterjet, Inc. has been the Bay Area’s source for water jet cutting for over 20 years. We offer the latest water jet technology at the most competitive rates. Give us a call today to see how water jet cutting can meet your team’s needs!