By forcing high-pressure water through a very small orifice, waterjet cutting machines can shape and cut materials with all sorts of strengths and textures. This approach to cutting provides a wide range of benefits – for industrial purposes, the cold-cutting mechanism eliminates unwanted HAZ (heat affected zones). Waterjets are easy to use and environmentally friendly, especially in their reduction of waste material. The omni-directional capabilities make for very precise cuts, and waterjets perform faster than many other conventional cutting tools.
Perhaps the most interesting advantage of waterjets is their versatility. Not only can these innovative machines cut through metals, wood, and glass, but they can also deliver intricate and satisfying results from a variety of other, less conventional materials. Here are some of the most interesting videos that show off the many features of waterjet cutting.
1. Pastry (Fresh and Frozen)
When people think of waterjets, they generally think of high-intensity streams slicing through wood or metal to deliver a precise, clean cut. However, the intricacy and precision of waterjets mean that they can cut through almost any material placed in front of them – all the way from aluminum to delicious frozen pastries:
If you’ve ever struggled to get succulent cuts of fish with a knife, waterjet cutting may present an interesting solution. The following video shows how pure waterjets can cut through trout and perch, for some of the most precise cutlets you’ll ever see:
3. Bullet-Proof Glass
A defining feature of many action movies – and a high-security form of protection for banks and other organizations – bullet-proof glass may be able to defend you from someone wielding a gun, but it can’t stand up to the pressure of an abrasive waterjet:
Although not the most conventional use of a waterjet system, the pure streams of a waterjet can offer a clean and precise way to shape hundreds, if not thousands, of cakes for extravagant parties. This option is great for reducing waste too, as the waterjet uses the cake as economically as possible! All you need is the right software, and a flat slab of delicious sponge:
Ever wonder how those pre-prepared vegetables from the store are perfectly sliced into symmetrical chunks? You’ve probably suspected this task isn’t done by hand. With a waterjet cutter, everything from celery to tomatoes can be sliced and diced into shape – hundreds at a time:
Cutting geodes without damaging them, or scuffing the beautiful gem inside, can be a difficult process. Traditional methods sometimes lead to abrasions and poor results, whereas waterjet cutting helps to provide a smooth cut – perfect for geodes displayed in homes, museums, and stores:
If the employees at produce factories had to cut thousands of onions themselves, management would likely be dealing with a lot of complaints about streaming eyes and impaired vision. Fortunately, waterjet cutting offers a solution that washes away the irritating reactions caused by cutting onions, while speeding up the process at the same time:
8. Pumpkin Carving
Most people don’t have access to a highly-efficient waterjet machine when they’re carving pumpkins for Halloween. However, the following video suggests that if they did, the jack-o-lanterns sitting out on porches might look far more precise and artistic:
From a practical standpoint, cutting through your own laptop with a high-intensity stream of water doesn’t make a lot of sense – at least, not if you’re planning on continuing to use that laptop. However, it’s safe to say that watching someone else cut through one of these high-tech machines is a fascinating experience:
10. Motorbike Helmet
One of the greatest benefits of waterjet cutting is that it allows for precise and accurate manufacturing, one component at a time. The following video showing a waterjet shaping a motorbike helmet, offers an insight into just how effective these machines can be:
The Abilities of Waterjets
These videos aren’t just loads of fun to watch – they also help to demonstrate why the waterjet cutting process is one of the most versatile and effective machining processes in the world. Today, waterjets are used in high production applications across the globe – for more projects than you might imagine.
The waterjet has regularly shown that it can do things other technologies cannot – from cutting precise shapes into glass, stone, and metal; to slicing food, carving pumpkins, and detailing helmets.
Have you found any amazing waterjet cutting videos in the past? Share them with us in the comments below!
Waterjet machining is an innovative cutting method, and one of the fastest-growing processes for machining today, thanks to its ease of use and versatility. While most professionals in the manufacturing industry have heard of waterjets, they may not realize there are actually two distinct forms of this process available. Though the word “waterjet” often refers to abrasive cutting, the term actually defines a broader approach to machining – one that covers the use of both pure and abrasive jets.
Understanding the difference between the two waterjet options is crucial when choosing the right tool for your project.
Defining Pure and Abrasive Waterjets
A pure waterjet, as the name indicates, is the cleanest original form of waterjet technology. Pure waterjets work by directing a stream of pressurized water onto a material, for a precise cut. Unlike other machining solutions, the pure waterjet process is a form of cold-cutting, which removes the risk of heat-affected zones in the material – preventing it from hardening during the machining process.
The only issue with pure waterjet is that it’s limited to use on thin or soft materials; such as foil, cardboard, fabric, wood, and rubber. Alternatively, abrasive waterjet technology maximizes the benefits of pure waterjet cutting for use on harder materials.
In the 1980s, manufacturers found that adding abrasives to the water stream generated a new process for cutting, which expanded waterjet applications. Though abrasive waterjets follow the same operating principles as pure waterjets, they introduce the use of abrasive particles – such as garnet – which mix within the high-pressure stream, eroding virtually any material (of any thickness) with precision and speed. The opportunities offered by abrasive waterjets has made them an ideal choice for parts manufacturers and fabricators across a number of industries.
How Pure and Abrasive Waterjets Cut
The primary difference between pure and abrasive waterjet cutting is whether additives are mixed into the pressurized water that streams from the machine nozzle. In pure waterjets, the pressure of the water alone, when forced through a tiny orifice, is used to cut through materials like foam (and even food). In an abrasive waterjet, the water stream mixes with an abrasive when it leaves the orifice. The abrasive particles use the water as an accelerant, which allows them to erode through much harder materials.
In abrasive waterjet cutting, the water is no longer the cutting tool – instead, the abrasive particles are responsible for the machining work. The waterjet’s job is to focus those particles at the right level and speed for an efficient cut. Manufacturers can achieve faster cuts by increasing the number or speed of the particles.
The Capabilities of Pure and Abrasive Waterjets
Because pure waterjet cutting uses only water, it’s more suitable for delicate materials, such as felts and foams. The purity in the water stream prevents damage to finished components – even during detailed machining.
Abrasive waterjets are often used to cut metals, like steel and aluminum. A good rule of thumb is that if you can cut the material with scissors, you can cut it with a pure waterjet. Pure waterjets can cut through:
- Food products (like cake, chicken, or fruit)
- Thin Plastic
Abrasive waterjets can cut through:
- Thick Plastics
Which Waterjet Is Right for You?
Because they are based in the same process, pure and abrasive waterjets share many of the same advantages; including quick cutting speeds, reduction of heat-affected zones, precise cuts, reduced environmental impact, and minimal finishing requirements. Determining which method is right for your projects depends on your future business plans and operations. In terms of budget, abrasive jets cost more to operate, as a result of abrasive consumption and wear. These additional costs are worth the investment if your organization needs to cut a diversified range of materials.
If your focus is on thin or soft materials, pure waterjets will make the most economical sense. Pure is also the way to go if you’re using waterjet machines to cut food, as you need to stick to the technology in its purest form to meet with USDA standards for hygienic cutting.
What kind of waterjet cutting do you use most often? If you use both, how do you feel about the differences between abrasive and pure waterjets? Let us know in the comments below!
The use of pressurized water streams to cut materials has been growing in popularity since the 1930s, when the first low-pressure waterjet systems emerged as a method for cutting paper. After achieving commercialization in the 1970s, the waterjet technology continued to evolve from a rough cutting tool into a high-precision process for fabricating and machining intricate parts. Today, waterjets are on equal footing with lasers in terms of accuracy – and can even offer additional benefits, thanks to their low environmental impact, and elimination of Heat Affected Zones (HOZ).
Some of the newest innovations revolutionizing the manufacturing industry include upgrades to the waterjet systems designed for micromachining and precision cutting, as well as the introduction of video measuring accuracy systems – for greater automated precision, and increased component longevity within waterjet machines. Let’s take a look at the next steps in the world of waterjets, and what they mean for the machining industry.
Micromachining and Precision Cutting
As technology continues to evolve, various industries – from healthcare to metal fabrication – struggle to meet a demand for the machining of smaller, more complex parts. While waterjet technology up to this point has performed well-above other tools, the issue of downsizing abrasive waterjet streams to machine even smaller microproducts has caused a number of challenges in the industry.
The recent years have seen significant advancements in downsizing waterjet technology, implemented by scientists at OMAX Corporation, and expanded to an industrial level. Today, abrasive waterjet cutting uses stronger elements, high-precision nozzles of 0.002 in., and downsized materials – such as smaller abrasive particles, and mixing cylinders. Clogging is a common issue associated with micromachining through waterjets; and engineers have even begun bypassing with innovations like a miniature 0.015 in. diameter nozzle that allows for pure, unhindered jet flow.
The work on micro waterjet applications continues with the development of smaller, and more accurate nozzles. These nozzles are enhanced with the use of advanced computerized software, for precision unlike anything achieved in the industry before. Today, micro abrasive waterjets using cold-cutting processes can shape materials for various applications; including surgical equipment, and even details on innovative technology, like prosthetic limbs.
Video Measuring Accuracy System
Waterjet machines work by pushing pressurized water through a tiny orifice that’s made from a mineral known as corundum. Without the precision the orifice affords in controlling and directing the stream, a waterjet system would be useless – which is why many industries invest in the highest quality material for their machinery.
Diamond orifices are emerging as the standard for most waterjet machining organizations, because they are more durable, capable of producing a cleaner stream, and far stronger – ranking at 10.0 on the Mohs scale. Unfortunately, even these high-quality orifices can incur damage as a result of high pressure and abrasive erosion – leading to poor stream quality, equipment wear, and ineffective production standards.
One of the latest innovations in the field of waterjet cutting has been introduced by Nikon, in the form of a measuring system designed to inspect diamond orifices, improve accuracy, and enhance longevity within machines. Using a TTL (through-the-lens) laser and edge-detection algorithms, the video measuring system inspects the dimensions of precision components in a waterjet machine. Using image processing and optical measuring, these technologies examine the edges of the sample; and then process the data for shortened measurement times, enhanced accuracy, and reduced problems with diamond orifices.
The Evolutions of Waterjet Technology
As various industries continue to demand more from their reliable and accurate machining processes, waterjet technology will continue to evolve and adapt. Where once it was little more than a rudimentary tool for cutting paper, the waterjet machine can now:
- Cut virtually any material
- Allow for fast programming and automated setup
- Reduce heat generation during cutting – for no HAZ on parts
- Provide safe and environmentally friendly options for manufacturing
- Offer cost effective machining solutions
- Shape and cut micro parts
- Minimize waste with video measurement systems
How do you feel about the latest innovations in waterjet technology? What do you think would make this machining process even better? Let us know in the comments below!
Laser cutting machines allow fabricators to develop high-quality parts accurately — without need for much finishing work. As the laser cuts, excess material burns, melts, or vaporizes away, while a high-pressure gaseous jet removes debris for a precise and clean finished cut.
Laser cutters offer distinct advantages to alternative mechanical cutters; because the laser never makes physical contact with the component material, there is often no wear, less chance of heat damage, and fewer opportunities for contamination of the component. What’s more, most laser cutters can cut with greater precision than mechanical machines.
Following, we will consider the technology behind laser cutters, and how they are able to produce accurate results on a wide range of materials and parts.
Step 1: Choosing the Material
In laser cutting machines, the actual laser is at the back of the system, emitting an almost parallel beam of light in one specific wavelength. Manufacturing experts and trained professionals can control the powerful, yet precise beam with computerized access to mirrors and lenses. When focused on a material, the laser reacts with the localized space, causing it to burn, vaporize, or melt.
Fabricators place the chosen material on a substrate table, which moves up or down relative to the focus point in order to achieve the right results for the project at hand. Experts can set the cutting line according to the strength of the material in question, the desired results, and the depth of the cut. This means that the laser can either cut through the material completely, or etch a design into the surface.
For engraving purposes, some available materials include:
For cutting purposes, laser machines can work on:
Step 2: Inputting a Design
Most laser cutters cut complex parts for machines, or engrave designs on artistic architectural pieces. However, with the right expertise, they can be ideal for a variety of other tasks. Many of these systems are controlled through computer programs, or “CNC code”, which adjusts the Y and X axes of the machine according to the blueprints or vector files uploaded. These computer programs not only map out the correct cutting pattern for the machine, but also provide functions for an engineer to adjust the power of the laser beam to optimize the depth and width of the cut, as well as the cutting speed.
The computerized control panel provides a secure way for manufacturers to manage cut quality, without having to manually adjust mirrors or risk coming into contact with the laser.
Step 3: Focusing the Laser
Finally, once the design has been set, and the material situated on the substrate table, mirrors, and a powerful lens concentrate the laser beam. The very thin light stream —powered by carbon dioxide in most modern industrial lasers — emits radiation at a wavelength of 10.6 micrometers – invisible to the naked eye. The curved mirrors within the machine and the special lens focus the laser beam into the cutting head, concentrating the light source so that the energy density and focus spot are consistent and applicable to the chosen project.
Because the heat generated by the focused beam is so high, the material will melt, burn, or vaporize within the localized area. At the same time, gas flows along the cut line to clear waste materials from the area. Oxygen is for mild steel cutting, whereas nitrogen is for stainless steel, and combination gasses are used in aluminum cutting.
Effective Laser Cutting
Just like with any other fabricating or manufacturing machine, the benefits and limitations of laser cutters must be carefully considered before the start of any project. For example, while they’re exceptional for cutting hard materials like steel, laser cutters don’t function well on reflective metals, because the light reflects and heat dissipates, prompting the need for a much more powerful beam.
There are many other forms of cutting available, such as waterjet cutting, which may be more appropriate in certain circumstances. However, when used for the right projects, laser cutting machines can provide accurate and precise results for high-quality components and parts.
Have you used laser cutting machines before for your business projects? How did you find the experience, and the results? Let us know in the comments below!
Quality is a crucial factor to consider in any industry — particularly designing a product or service. The higher market competition becomes, the more quality is identified as the market differentiator for consumers seeking dependable companies and resources.
In the fabrication and manufacturing industry, companies construct components for numerous industries, using the techniques of quality control and quality assurance to maintain consistent results. Though accuracy is essential for every market, when it comes to the precision machining used to fabricate products for the military and aerospace, reliability takes on a critical role.
Human lives can depend on the ability of thousands of components to work together as designed; in precision machining there is no margin for error.
Complete Quality Control Begins With Clear Standards
Most precision machining companies use a system of “Total Quality Management” to oversee each step of the production process, from manufacturing floor processes to distribution. This approach considers the responsibilities of each staff member, as well as the tools, techniques, and materials used.
In order to implement an effective quality control program, the enterprise must decide on the specific standards each product must meet. For instance, products for the Military and Aerospace industries must meet rigorous standards for durability and dependability at every turn. Once standards are outlined, the company must find ways to implement and test various factors in each fabricated product, including:
Ways to Implement Quality Control
In some cases, automated systems inspect the factors determining the overall quality of a product. For instance, using the same CNC software in a laser-cutting machine for certain parts can help to ensure consistency and cost-efficiency. However, the fabrication company is still responsible for ensuring accuracy by selecting high-quality materials and tools, adhering to standards, facilitating precision through the use of innovative technology, and determining reliability through product testing. Implementing quality control measures for these purposes may mean:
- Enhancing staff training: A high quality workforce is essential to producing high-quality components. Standardized training means that each component is created using the same consistent, standardized set of techniques.
- Upgrading machines: Using the most effective tools for precision machining means that products can be created faster, and to a higher standard. Innovative technology such as laser cutters and waterjets are necessary to achieve accuracy in intricate designs, maintain material quality, and develop customized solutions to complex problems.
- Developing clear company goals: Management have a role in clarifying the standards all staff members should work towards in successfully fabricating parts and machining products. These standards should be clearly explained and upheld, so that everyone works towards the same, uniform goals. At precision waterjet we have a dedicated quality department that stringently inspects finished products to ensure they meet standards.
In the machining industry, one important part of quality control is maintenance. This means investing regular time (and money where necessary), on ensuring that each machine is performing at the highest standard to produce quality results. From examining errors in waterjet cutters, to testing for accuracy in laser jets and CNC machines, maintenance is an unavoidable step in both quality control, and quality management.
Quality Control Is an Ongoing Process
The final step in quality control for any industry is to measure results. While there are many reasons for implementing a quality control process – particularly when machining parts for critical industries like the military or aerospace sector, one reason will be to ensure that each part meets the standards of the company that machined it. Results gleaned from customer feedback can contribute to necessary changes in quality management, while errors documented during production can be essential to preventing further issues in the future.
The driving force behind a machining company should be to achieve the highest level of quality. This could involve more customer service training, leadership development, and higher levels of staffing, or it could mean making changes to the product, service, or production process. Whatever the cost, fabrication companies cannot afford to compromise on quality.
Efficient and innovative machining companies use waterjet technology to shape and cut various materials with a high-pressure water stream. The thin, versatile stream allows waterjets to be fast, accurate, and flexible – leading to clean, detailed cuts in a range of materials without a change to the material properties or the development of a Heat Affected Zone. For companies that thrive on efficiency, waterjets include a quick set-up time, speedy cutting, and highly-controlled cutting accuracy.
Today, we’ll be looking into the technology behind waterjets, and how they work to deliver a precise result — no matter the task. From the parts within the waterjet system, to how those components work throughout each step of the process, this article will provide a comprehensive look at one of the most popular cutting techniques on the market.
Step 1: Setting Up the System
Waterjets manufacture components to exact specifications, which requires the use of a computerized system responsible for following a design. Technicians place a client’s material on a bench top unit beneath the waterjet nozzle, and during the cutting procedure, that material will either move to facilitate a fixed head, or the nozzle itself will move to follow a pattern. Most moving waterjet heads use a Computer Aided Design program for enhanced accuracy.
When used properly, waterjets can cut through:
- Stainless Steel
Step 2: Creating the Stream
Waterjets use water forced through a tiny hole, known as the “jewel” or “orifice”, to concentrate extreme pressure over a small space. The speed at which the water moves through the orifice creates a high-velocity jet. Creating this stream involves two primary steps:
- The intensifier or pressure-pump pressurizes water at levels of up to 60,000 PSI. The water moves into the system through a filter and booster pump. The filtering process is crucial, as water must be clean before it reaches ultra-high cutting pressure to protect components from damage. A water-treatment system removes harmful minerals from the water.
- Secondly, the filtered water flows through the small orifice to create the cutting stream. Direct drive or intensifier pumps can create the high-pressure required for cutting. Some machines use hydraulic oil pressurized at 211kg per square centimeter to power a piston.
The cutting stream can move at a velocity of Mach 3 – three times the speed of sound – depending on the water pressure. This process is applicable to both pure, and abrasive jets.
Step 3: Adding Abrasive Material
While pure waterjets use the stream of water exiting the orifice to cut through materials like foam, fiberglass, or soft rubber, they’re not effective for cutting harder materials. An abrasive jet works much like a pure waterjet, but as the stream of water leaves the orifice, an abrasive material such as garnet, mixes into the stream. The water beam accelerates those abrasive particles to speeds fast enough that they can cut through much harder materials. The resulting jet moves through a “mixing” or “focusing” tube to create a far stronger cutting mechanism.
Waterjets can use various abrasive materials, including diamond, corundum, garnet, and olivine – so long as the particle size is between 0.2 and 0.5 mm. Usually, the machine stores the abrasive substance in the pressurized hopper before it travels into a metering assembly which controls the level of particles fed to the nozzle.
Step 4: Making the Cut
Once the component design is integrated into the waterjet cutting machine through the use of CAD software, the device can program tool paths that map out the cutting process. Following the cut, the residual energy from the cutting stream dissipates into a catcher tank, which stores spent abrasive and kerf material.
In some circumstances, professionals fill catcher tanks with materials like ceramic – designed to slow the jet and reduce the chance of damage to floors and underlying fixtures.
Using a Waterjet
Waterjets are effective and environmentally friendly processes for machining that create precise, clean results, without giving off hazardous waste or vapors. As you can see above, the process for setting up and using a waterjet is simple enough for a professional to follow, assuming he or she has the right training and equipment.
If you’ve used waterjet cutting before, how did you find it compared to other machining practices? Do you have experience using a waterjet machine yourself? Let us know in the comments below.
A network of the international standards institutes of 162 nations across the world, ISO formed in February 1947. Forty years later, the network published its initial series of ISO 9001 standards for quality management — and since then over a million organizations across 178 countries have achieved ISO9001 certification. However, in spite of this, some companies still question the value of the certification — designed to help companies enhance customer satisfaction by meeting regulatory and customer requirements and continuously improving their performance.
It is difficult to overstate the benefits of ISO9001, as companies large and small have used the standard to great effect. One UK-based survey determined that 78% of 596 certified organizations found significant improvements in their business processes — from better quality management skills, to increased efficiency, customer satisfaction, and employee motivation — after receiving the ISO9001 certification. In other words, IS09001 not only makes a company better for its customers, but also improves the success of that company overall.
Defining the ISO9001 Certification
Simply put, ISO9001 is the international standard for all Quality Management Systems — most recently updated in 2015. A survey of the certification that took place in 2012 determined that, despite the global recession, the level of companies interested in implementing the ISO9001 quality management standard continues to show a positive trend world-wide.
To those who are aware of it, ISO9001 is the internationally recognized standard for creating, managing, and maintaining a system for quality management in any company, and it is intended for use within organizations in any industry or size. As an internationally recognized standard, it is the basis for any company seeking to develop a system that ensures customer satisfaction and internal improvement. Because of this, the ISO001 is the basic requirement of most companies in taking on an organization as a supplier.
What Does the ISO9001 Certification Mean?
Because the ISO9001 means that you are auditing your processes, and had a certification body audit them, your customers will not need to audit your company. What’s more, the clients or customers of an IS09001 certified company experience the peace of mind that comes with working alongside a business with an approved quality management system.
The ISO9001 certification improves efficiency, saves time, and ultimately enhances customer relationships. First and foremost, it allows consumers to see that the organization they are working with has been recognized and certified by a reliable body. They will understand that you have implemented a system dedicated to meeting customer requirements, improving their trust that you are capable of delivering what you have promised.
What’s more, one of the primary principles of the ISO9001 QMS is that it shows a company’s focus on increasing customer satisfaction by recognizing and meeting customer requirements. Businesses with an ISO9001 certification show their dedication to a culture of continued improvement and express a respect for high-quality service, and the customers that they work to serve.
Getting an ISO9001 Certification
In order for any company to obtain an ISO9001 certification, they must have implemented quality management system standards for each area of the business, from equipment and services, to training, facilities, and staff.
To begin with, the company must have a clear understanding of their business objectives and how they can improve their system to deliver a commendable level of service to all customers and clients they engage with. The business must also incorporate quality management systems into each area of the business, and inform staff of their expectations and roles at each level. The ISO9001 application will require a documented quality management system, alongside a collection of procedures and policies used within the company.
After the completion and implementation of documentation, a company hoping to gain an ISO9001 certification will need to conduct an internal audit to evaluate their QMS processes. What’s more, a formal review by management will evaluate the system and make appropriate decisions for the assignment of new resources. Following the review and audit, the company will resolve any issues, and document how and where they were dealt with.
Precision Waterjet and Laser is ISO9001 certified, and is committed to exceeding our customers’ expectations for quality.