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Water-jet Machining -- Its Time Has Come
Update:2014-11-18 10:46:31
Water-jet machining has traditionally been viewed as a specialty process with limited applications in spite of it been around for many years. However, recent advances are making water-jet machining practical for applications which have never been considered previously.

The cutting operation of water-jet cutters is usually performed by the use of a stream of water and abrasive particles, such as garnet. The water-jet cutter making city water (typically 80 psi) go through an intensifier-type pump, thus pressurize the water up to 55,000 psi. The water flows through a 0.010-inch diameter orifice into a mixing chamber when the abrasive-jet cutting head is enabled. As entering the mixing chamber, the water-jet stream creates a partial vacuum that draws the flow of abrasive particles through the abrasive delivery line. The abrasive particles combine with the water-jet stream to create a high energy abrasive-jet cutting stream. This stream exits the cutting head at a velocity of up to 3,000 feet per second. Today's water-jet cutting machines are CNC controlled for accuracy, repeatability and ease of setup. Such as cantilever water-jet cutting machines in NCM Group Machinery Corporation which can cut all kinds of metal, marble, granite, glass, ceramic tile, rubber, plastic, virtually any materials. This machine can cut metal up to 75mm thick.

Advantages of water-jet machining:

Maximized Output. To maximize material utilization, parts can be nested very close to each other. In some cases, pieces can even share the same cutting line.

No heat-affected zones. The level of heat generated in the process of water-jet is not the same. As a result, the materials properties will not change in the process of being cut. Because of the concentration of the heat on water-jet, it literally dissipates into the chip or the removed materials, thus there will be no burn marks on parts that have been cut.
-No need a beforehand hole. The water-jet nozzle is placed where needs the cutting. The water-jet burrows its own hole through the material on site, no need to drill the material in advance.

Burr-free edge quality. There is no burr generated in the process of water-jet, or the burr generated is very small because of the little force of water-jet cuts.
Eliminates secondary operations. Water-jet can also etch which eliminate the need for a separate etching operation. In addition, because there is no heat in the process of water-jet, that no anneal is needed after machining.
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