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Recent developments in linear-drive technology are designed to improve waterjet cutting accuracy and safety, while making high-precision cutting machines more affordable.
Find out more about this traction-drive system that has its roots in railroad locomotives while using the latest in precision linear encoder technology. Previous articles in this series have explained how the accuracy of waterjet-cut parts has been dramatically improved by a better understanding of how the jet stream of an abrasive waterjet bends during cutting and by improved machine control software tha takes advantage of this knowledge. However, the parts produced by an abrasive waterjet cutting machine are only as accurate as the electromechanical system that moves the cutting nozzle in the X, Y, and Z axes.
Abrasive waterjet designers have always faced a compromise in using traditional machine tool motion control systems because none of them are perfectly matched to the unique requirements of waterjet technology. A recent patent application has introduced a precise traction-drive linear-motion system that appears to be ideal for abrasive waterjet applications and promises a higher level of accuracy.