What You Need to Look Into Before You Take an Abrasive Water Jet Cutter In-House?

metal scrappingWhen examining the possibility of bringing an outsourced operation or function in-house, the major concern to look into is whether the volume of work warrants the capital investment and accompanying operating costs. Additionally, considerations like maintenance, required peripheral devices, specific training, and the arrangement of the available workspace are taken into account. 

They need to be looked into first before plans on taking abrasive waterjet machining in-house materialize or take place. Water jetting is a deceptively simple method that necessitates considerable thought, planning, and effort in order to achieve a reasonable ROI or return on investment and increase business productivity.

Waterjet experts can offer a guiding hand to those who own a machine/fabrication shop who is also pondering whether to have this process in-house or continue outsourcing it. The common mistake of many people is they choose to ignore these things when they opt to undertake water jet cutter on their own.

Among them are: 

Operator training.

It is wrong to think that other machining skills can be translated into water jetting in no time. The majority of waterjet manufacturers offer customer product training in their product purchase price; the most reputable of these dealers maintain they are leading-edge by providing ongoing operator training.

Regular clearing and cleaning of chips and remnants. 

Waterjet machining does not lead to the generation of large amounts of chips or cutting debris, as turning, milling and the majority of other traditional machining processes do. However, it is important to regularly clear and clean out cutting residues from the waterjet machine’s systems and components to ensure it is functioning properly and minimize premature wear and tear of the equipment. 

Material Handling and Storage. 

Please remember that the waterjet system is generally used for cutting quite huge sheets of material. This necessitates a different storage and handling approach than bar stock or metal billets. 

End-of-the-line consumers must devise an efficient method for segregating and warehousing raw materials, as well as establish best practices for transporting these large, often heavy sheets from warehouses to the waterjet tool machine.

Water Temperature/Quality

Municipal water quality, particularly in terms of particles, differs significantly from city to city. Any substance suspended in the water carries the potential to corrode or damage the spray nozzle gem.

The concentrator located within the nozzle body costs between $80 and $800. They are quite pricey and you need to take good care of them so they will last long enough. Temperature is also a matter of concern. 

cooling water temperature

The excessively heated water can degrade the seals in the waterjet mechanism. With that scenario, it runs the risk of shutting down production. Therefore, to keep that unfortunate event from ever taking place, water should be filtered and must be run through chillers. This measure will help in keeping their ideal temperature, which should be higher than 7° C or 45° F. 

Abrasives

When doing abrasive water jetting, you need to take into account the abrasive particles you intend to use. Along with purchasing abrasives, spent abrasives must be managed properly and processed the right way before they can be reused. 

The most frequently used abrasive material used in the metal processing and fabricating industry is garnet. By nature, this particle is not inherently hazardous. 

If you’re interested in using additive manufacturing to generate finished 3D printed eyewear, this technology will optimize your entire manufacturing process. 

Indeed, adding value through additive manufacturing entails a reduction in inventory. You need to build your stock when you make use of conventional production techniques, but things can take a turn with 3-dimensional printing, you save waste and can produce your required parts as needed!

How to Properly Maintain Your Waterjet Cutter and Extend Its Service Life?

If your machinery is an integral part of your production, you need to have a manageable maintenance program in place to keep it always in tiptop shape. The same is true if you require the use of a waterjet cutter for your machination and fabrication needs

When pieces are required, they maintain well machinery and equipment; they always deliver their best performance. If you have a waterjet system and it’s helping your organization remain at the top of its game, how far do you think you should go to keep it in suitable form and balance? 

However, it is sad to know that there are a handful of CNC shops and operators out there that seem to underestimate the power of proper care and maintenance for their machines. If they will slack in this area or will be lax in giving proper servicing for their systems, it will risk impeding their productivity.   


Video credit to Cutting Tool Engineering

Frequency of Maintenance

Waterjet systems are qualified mechanical equipment, and like any other machines, they need proper maintenance to keep running smoothly. 

Expect that you will need to change their nozzle parts, daily. Know beforehand that you will need to replace pump parts less frequently, and yet must be regular enough. Anticipate that you need to always have critical spares at hand, this way you won’t have to stall your machining project while there are no available spare parts and you are waiting for your ordered replacement to arrive.  

If you are using hard water for your machining concerns, there are two options you can consider. You will either need to maintain your system and parts more often, or you will need to have access to a good filtration system and reliable water softener solution.  

Ease of maintenance

If you know exactly how to replace the brake pads of your car, then that goes to show that you have all it takes to keep your abrasive jet going. To make this happen, you need a good manual and a day’s training. On certain occasions, you may require phone tech support. 

It is natural for mixing tubes to wear out easily, but you can replace them in no time. As for the pumps, they often require periodic seal changes. Regarding pump design, seals can be anywhere from quite awkward to quick and easy and time hog to replace.  

Start with Clean Water

waterjet cutterTo keep your waterjet system to its peak performance, you must always use clean water. Using water that contains dissolved minerals, impurities, or any random particles to your waterjet machine risks getting into your equipment’s high-pressure components. If that happens, it will speed up your machine’s wear and tear. 

The natural tendency of dissolved minerals in water is to get deposited and accumulated right at the top of the jewel. If this happens, it will compromise the cutting efficiency of your waterjet cutter. The worst thing that can happen here is it will deflect it sideways and cause it to land on your mixing tube side.  

Keep this in mind, water quality has a direct impact on the maintenance work your waterjet system will require. If you are using better water quality, then you are likely to have less frequent maintenance concerns for it. It works to your advantage because that means to say that you can handle more cutting and slicing work, generating revenue for your business.