No matter if you cut glass once a week or manufacture steel parts three shifts a day, abrasive and discarded material builds up in the tank. At some point the solids will build up so much that it will affect your waterjet’s efficiency and accuracy. How much cutting you do determines how often you will need to remove solids from your tank. When that time comes, you’ll need to remove those solids to continue your waterjet operations.
Solids removal is typically done one of three ways:
- Drain the tank and shovel the solids out.
- Hire a vacuum truck to suck out the tank.
- Install a solid removal system to continually remove the used abrasive.
Shoveling out the spent abrasive is the cheapest, but most lengthy, process of the three. In this instance you will need to drain your tank of whatever water is above the abrasive level. Once you can get at the abrasive easily, you’ll shovel it from the tank into bags or a hopper to be disposed of. Though this method initially seems cost effective, the full evolution of draining the tank, shoveling, disposal, and refilling the tank equates to significant downtime. Your operators are paid to work the machine, not muck out tanks.
Hiring a vacuum truck is often a time-efficient method with some restrictions. There are several environmental services and vacuum truck companies that will take your abrasive for a fee. Though downtime is reduced (usually a few hours), compared to shoveling the tank yourself, there may be some vacuum truck companies that will test the content of your tank prior to operations to confirm the specification of the abrasive and removed solids. This testing can take extra time. In addition, some vacuum trucks don’t have a long suction line meaning the waterjet tank may need to be positioned near a truck-accessible area.
The most time-conscious method of the three is adding a solids removal system. Solids removal systems are able to run continually, pulling abrasive from your tank as you use the machine. The solids are then collected into a hopper that can be emptied as needed. There are two solid removal systems that OMAX offers: the Variable Speed Solids Removal System (VS-SRS) and the Large Solids Removal System (LSRS).
- The VS-SRS is primarily used with standard and smaller model JetMachining Centers (i.e. OMAX 55100 or MAXIEM 1530). The system provides a removal rate as high as 5.6 lbs/min with a programmable variable speed system. Installing this accessory unit provides precise control over evacuation rate, direction, and duration to efficiently remove abrasive from the waterjet’s tank.
- The LSRS handles larger OMAX abrasive waterjets (i.e. OMAX 80X-2 or OMAX 120X-1) and uses multiple collection ports inside the tank to remove solids at a rate of up to 30lb/min. In addition, the LSRS gives the user operational flexibility by allowing placement of the unit up to 100 feet away from your JetMachining Center. Installing an LSRS on to your larger abrasive waterjet provides and easy economical way to clear your tank while mitigating downtime.
Whether shoveling the abrasive yourself, or using an OMAX solids removal system, your next step is to dispose of the used abrasive. Garnet abrasive is a safe product to dispose of at your local transfer station without any additional consideration, though this may vary depending on local government regulations. If you have been cutting hazardous materials, please consult local and federal guidelines for proper disposal.