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Waterjets Move into the Mainstream

Manufacturing Engineering April 2005 Vol. 134 No. 4

Robert B. Aronson, Senior Editor

Waterjet is said to be the fastest growing manufacturing technique. But can a process that's good at cutting chicken parts do anything for you? Quite possibly, yes.

Waterjet, in a single machine, can greatly extend the manufacturer's capabilities. The buyers of waterjet systems seem equally split between companies that want them for production use and service groups, or job shops that want to serve a wider range of customer requirements.

There are two forms of waterjet cutting, pure water, and abrasive waterjet. In either case, the highly pressurized water passes through a narrow orifice in a cutting head positioned above the material to be cut. The size of the orifice is adjusted to suit the material density. Easily penetrated materials can be cut with an orifice as small as 0.003" (0.08 mm) while harder materials may require an orifice up to 0.030" (0.8 mm).

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