How do waterjets work?

Learn About Waterjets



High Pressure Pump 1 CuttingHead 2 Abrasive WaterJet Nozzle 3 Catcher Tank 4 Abrasive Hopper 5 X-Y Traverse System 6 PC - Based Controller 7


Waterjet cutting systems utilize either the older, more complex hydraulic intensifier pump or the newer, simpler crankshaft-driven triplex plunger pump. Crankshaft pumps are inherently more efficient than intensifier pumps because they do not require a power-robbing hydraulic system. The crankshaft drive is a purely mechanical direct-drive system with minimal friction losses and so efficiencies between 85% and 90% are typical. This means that 85% or more of the electric power supplied to the drive motor can actually be delivered to the cutting nozzle, compared to the typical 65% or less of an intensifier. Historically intensifier pumps had an advantage of longer seal and check-valve life, but ongoing improvements in seal designs and materials and the wide availability and reduced cost of ceramic valve components now make it possible to operate a crankshaft pump in the 60,000 PSI (4,137 bar) range with long maintenance intervals and excellent reliability.

OMAX uses high-efficiency crankshaft-driven direct-drive pumps exclusively for all of its systems. A direct-drive pump is more efficient than a traditional hydraulic intensifier pump and so it can deliver more net power to the cutting nozzle, resulting in faster cutting. It is quiet and clean, with no risk of messy hydraulic leaks. In addition, a direct-drive pump is simple to understand, to troubleshoot and to maintain. The OMAX EnduroMAX pump features a preventative maintenance interval of 1000 hours, offering the ultimate in reliable low-cost operation.

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Using a ruby or diamond jewel, the orifice focuses the high-pressure water. The diameter of the orifice helps determine the cut width (kerf). The smaller orifice, the smaller the cut width (kerf). Jewel Orifice Water pressure is generated at the pump and travels to the nozzle body through high-pressure tubing. Water pressure is variable at the pump. High Pressure Water Introducing abrasive (usually garnet) to create a mixture capable of cutting nearly any material. Abrasive is categorized by mesh, similar to sand paper, with 80 mesh being the coarsest and getting finer from there. Abrasive Inlet With the abrasive and water together, the mixture is delivered through the mixing tube cutting the material. Mixing tubes vary in size depending on water pressure, abrasive mixture, and application. Similar to the Jewel Orifice, the smaller the diameter of the mixing tube, the smaller the cut width (kerf). Mixing Tube


All abrasive waterjet nozzles use the same basic operating principle as the liquid blasting nozzle, first patented in 1936 (Patent 2,040,715). The modern configuration is shown in the diagram on the right.
Note that for a water-only nozzle that is designed for cutting soft materials, the mixing chamber and tube are eliminated and the coherent jet of water alone cuts the material.
In order for the abrasive waterjet nozzle to cut efficiently and to increase component life, it is critical that the jewel orifice is carefully aligned in the nozzle body. All OMAX nozzles are factory-aligned and individually tested to ensure efficient cutting and long life.

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