According to water jet machine manufacturers, the early generation of waterjets can cut through soft materials very easily. However, they are not as effective when working on harder materials, and that includes metals. Water jet cutting machines started having this capability only after the idea of adding abrasive material to the cutting nozzle was thought of.
The technology of adding abrasive material to the waterjet cutting machine nozzle was pioneered by Leslie Tirrell and Elmo Smith in the 1930s. Back then, the service life of an abrasive waterjet nozzle was too short. Hence, they were obviously not viable back then. For that reason, mass producing it was not a practical idea and was thus shelved for quite some time.
The plan for mass production was only relaunched only after several material innovations came to surface by virtue of mixing tubes. The production of the commercially acceptable nozzle was initiated by Boride Corporation.
By fusing high-pressure pump and abrasive waterjet nozzle, water jet cutting machines are now made better than ever. They can now handle cutting through a wide spectrum of materials, including titanium, glass, stone and even hardened tool steel.
Nowadays, water jet cutting is considered by industry experts and insiders as among the leading cutting technologies we have in this modern time and age. The acceptance and level of popularity of the waterjet manufacturers and business sectors for this method of cutting have finally qualified it as the go-to choice for many.
While this technology has undergone several innovations and improvements in the past, the silver lining question here is where is it leading us to?
Compared to how it was back then when waterjet cutting machines were first introduced to the world, it has become a lot faster. This was after it was made to deliver higher water pressure via the machine’s cutting head.
Water pressure through the cutting head can reach up to 87, 00 PSI. This is water delivered to at least 4 times the sound speed. Over time, it is anticipated that this speed we now have will still go further and faster.
Nonetheless, it should be noted that speed gains may not happen through water pressure anymore. Instead, further improvements will focus more on design and software upgrades.
Right this very moment, water jet cutting is already leading the way. It is capable of cutting through depths 10 times more than what a laser cutter does.
By virtue of increased water pressure, it would still be possible for it to cut deeper still. In a few years, perhaps we can make a seamless cut on metal that is half a meter’s depth.
Cutting Complex Parts
By far this can be considered as the biggest milestone in recent years. Water jets can now cut parts beyond the basic 2-dimensional cut we see.
XD cutting is now made possible through water jet cutters. It is a cutting head, capable of moving on multiple axes. This also signifies that it can cut complex 3-dimensional parts and that it can be carried in just one, singular strike. It is contrary to what you do in secondary cuts, which are time-consuming and costly, too.
The XD cutting technology is usually employed by the likes of formula one teams and Boeing. These industries require complex metal parts for their machinery, and they need to be done in the most accurate way possible.
There is more coming to this area, and it is anticipated that it will grow even further. Water jet cutting machines that are made capable of cutting more complex parts, more detailed and at a quicker pace.
Besides, industry experts are agreeing with each other that there will be a greater level of awareness about this technology. Business organizations will see this technology can save them both time and money on their metal cutting requirements.