Precision engineering complex parts – from a wide range of materials – takes a special set of skills, advanced technology, and in-depth experience of traditional cutting methods. We outline why water jet cutting rises to the top.
The natural force of water is awe-inspiring, from creating immense renewable energy in Hydropower Works, to cutting intricate shapes into solid materials. In fact, if you put a stream of water under enough pressure it can cut through the strongest metal as if it was butter.
Fortunately, for companies who need parts and components cut to exact specifications, we have harnessed that incredible power and versatility, so we can offer waterjet capabilities for even the most intricate of cuts.
What exactly does that involve and what materials can be shaped using water jet cutting?
What is water jet cutting?
As you would imagine, the technicians at Custom Moulded Polyurethane use an advanced water jet tool that relies on the latest software to calibrate the perfect cut, even for complicated contours. The fundamental process is to take a detailed brief from a customer. This can involve using DXF, IGS, CDL, HPL or bitmap files, or even a scanned drawing. We then programme our water jet cutting machinery to create a single, high pressured water ‘blade’.
As the title suggests, water is the main cutting medium. However, we also mix in garnet, to add to the ability of a water jet tool to achieve the perfect finish. This water mix is forced out of a diamond orifice at a rate of 2,500 feet per second. It creates a dust-free, clean and incredibly precise cut.
What can you achieve using water jet technology?
The jet of water slices through the material in any direction we need, to any depth and in some cases with incredible detail. Once the prototype is agreed, we can use our water jet cutting service to replicate the part on any scale required, including for short runs or to meet large production orders.
One of the under-appreciated aspects of commissioning parts cut by water jets is that you can specify a level of ‘finish’. You could ask us for ready to use parts that are perfectly formed. Or, you could commission a semi-finished part that can be completed by a separate engineering process.
As the water jet cutter doesn’t use heat, chemicals or abrasive metal blades, it doesn’t alter the structural composition of the material. So, the part or near-net-shape blank will have the tensile integrity you need.
You can see why the automotive and aerospace industries rely on water jet technology so much. However, it is also much favoured in architecture, electronics, and transport sectors too.
Can water jet cutting slice through anything?
The amazing thing about this choice of cutting tool for precision engineering parts is that its repertoire is vast. For example, you can use a water jet to slice foam to exacting dimensions. Or, to cut through armour plating.
What other materials can you cut with a water jet? It can be successfully used to meet demanding briefs for shaping plastic, polyurethane, carbon fibre, ceramics, copper, titanium, brass and wood. You name it, and water jet machinery cuts it.
Due to the advanced techniques we use, our water jet cutting service can slice through diverse materials up to 300mm thick, to tolerances of +/- 0.1mm.
Environment benefit to cutting with water
This guide to water jet cutting would not be complete without mentioning how environmentally friendly this engineering technology is. The use of recycled water – and no toxins – makes this a green way to create parts for sustainable industries.
Buy in water jet cutting services
Water jet cutting is precise and incredibly fast. Making it an increasingly common cutting method. Is it worth companies buying their own equipment, or is it better value to subcontract the work?
One of the benefits of using Custom Moulded Polyurethane to commission water jet cutting is that we already have the machinery, technical ability and experience needed. Also, it’s good financial sense to buy in precision engineering services from us – when the need arises – rather than having your own machinery standing idle for large periods of time.
Not least as we are able to provide precision cutting using waterjet technology at a highly competitive price. Call us for a quote and to discuss your bespoke part requirement.