Water jets, or also called as abrasive jets, are cutting tools in machine shops that use water as its main cutter. Water that has been highly pressurized is used to cut rubbers, plastics, and other soft materials. It can also cut metals when water is subjected into a very high pressure and ultra high pressures.
Typically, water jets are operated with CNCs. There are many CNC-operated metal cutters that are widely used, but water jets offer advantages over these types of machines.
Water jets cut with high precision. Water jets use CNC with Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, which is designed to profile geometrical designs to achieve high cutting precision for the work piece. The tolerance of ± 0.005″ or better can be achieved.
Heat affected zones can be minimized with water jet cutting. Common CNC plasma machine cutting tools use heat and other burning substances to use as the main cutting medium. Due to its high temperature, the work piece being cut might burn or melt.
Burning and melting of the material can be minimized or even completely avoided when water jet cutter is used. In this cutting tool, water is the prime medium, which is known to be a perfect insulator and absorber of heat. This is a very great advantage when the material needs to be cut should maintain a sophisticated output. Water jet cutter is advantageous when the material should not show any signs of discoloration, burned or melted parts.
Water jet is also beneficial to be used when the materials to be cut cannot be subjected into heating or burning processes, such as some plastics and laminates materials, due to the toxins and chemicals it can produce to the atmosphere.
Water jet cutting produces no mechanically stressed areas on the work piece. Water jet pressures are positioned downward, with the material lying on a table and minimum fixtures and clamping are enough, making it possible to avoid mechanical stresses. Since there is no other metal used as cutter for water jets, no heat due to friction can be produced, which makes the materials avoid any stresses and thermal deformation.