What is Waterjet Cutting?
Waterjet technology is a computerized cold cutting technology that can cut most materials into any two dimensional shape. Stainless steel, brass, bronze, raw steel, aluminum, marble, granite, porcelain, ceramic, linoleum, sports flooring, and vinyl are all excellent materials for the waterjet process. Waterjet cutting is a clear cold process that does not heat, harden, or distort metals. Waterjet cleanly and efficiently cuts stone, ceramics, and porcelains. Anything that can be drawn on a computer can be cut by waterjet. Many materials like stone, porcelain, and stainless steel cannot economically be cut into complex shapes in any other way. Ramsay Highlander's waterjet cutting tables can handle up 8’ x 20’.
Waterjet Cutting Capabilites
- 3 waterjet cutting tables that can handle up to 8’ x 20’
- Steel cutting thicknesses of up to 6” at 60,000 psi
- Stone cutting thicknesses of up to 12” at 60,000 psi
How Does it Work?
The customer submits a drawing, blueprint, or electronic file. Ramsay Highlander then scans, digitizes, and loads the file or drawing in AutoCad and converts it into a language that our waterjet machines can read through a process called CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing). The customer's image is then ready to download onto one of the waterjet machines.
A waterjet machine has essentially two components: the x-y-z table which moves the cutting head over the material and a high intensity pump that generates 60,000 psi. At this pressure, water alone can cut plastics, foam, wood, resilient floor coverings, rubber and similar soft substances.
The cutting head is a carbide nozzle with a .030” diameter tube and a .010” sapphire crystal orifice through which water is forced at three times the speed of sound by the high intensity pump. The movement of this nozzle is determined by the computer instructions the machine follows (the customer's drawing).
When cutting harder materials such as metals, stone, ceramics, glass and dense composites, a garnet abrasive is fed into the waterjet stream for stronger erosion action. The waterjet stream does not exert pressure or heat on the working material.
Advantages of Waterjet Cutting
Waterjets are an important breakthrough in fabrication methods for both industrial and architectural applications. Depending on the material, thickness and intricacy of the cut, the savings compared to traditional cutting methods can be substantial. Waterjet can cut through materials considered "unmachinable" by conventional cutting methods. The advantages of this process extend beyond its cost-competitiveness with other cutting techniques. Waterjet allows for complex and difficult shapes, such as inside corners, notches, architectural and artistic shapes, to be cut with equal ease and with a high level of accuracy and precision.
Because this is a CAD driven process it also offers the capability of repeatability, not available with most other cutting methods. Waterjet can be used for cutting composites and plastics that cannot tolerate heat, mechanical damage or delimitation. There are no molding or tooling costs associated with waterjet cutting. The CAD-CAM process and narrow kerf (or cut) resulting from the waterjet allows for exceptionally efficient usage of expensive materials such as titanium, composites and optical glass.
The waterjet cutting process is an environmentally friendly solution to many complex cutting operations. The process is clean, does not create dust, grindings, chips, or chemical air pollution. Waterjet carries away the eroded material, practically eliminating dust and does not generate pollutants and fumes associated with other cutting methods. Cutting oils or emulsions are not needed with this process.