fabricating Comparison Cutting 54
hour of the process itself, that’s power, gases
and consumable, is about ten bucks an hour.”
Waterjet cutting is a slower process than
plasma cutting and is a bit more expensive to
buy. “You can cut a variety of materials and
a range of thicknesses on a waterjet and that
is one of the great advantages of a waterjet
system,” explains Jamie Larson, marketing
manager for Jet Edge. “You can use it for many
different applications, you can cut virtually
anything with a waterjet, and it has no heat
affected zone like plasma or laser has.”
Heat affected zones can cause problems for
secondary processes like welding or milling.
“With lasers and plasma, one of the biggest
consideration is of course the creation of
heat affected joints. Heat generated by the
cutting component can result in chemical and
mechanical changes and in many instances, that
is going to negatively impact the part,” explains
Stephen Bruner, vice president of marketing for
OMAX Corp. “The part may have to maintain
its mechanical and chemical integrity from the
edge of the part all the way to the middle of the
part and this creates a bit of a problem.”
While the speed of a waterjet may be slower
than laser or plasma, you can multiply the
speed of production with additional heads.
“You can add multiple cutting heads to a
waterjet to increase productivity and get a
better return on investment,” advises Larson.
“We have had several customers that have
mounted 10 or 12 cutting heads on a machine
so you are processing multiple cuts at one time.
The ones that are ten heads are 2D systems,
but we also have a system with two five axis
cutting heads as well.”
One of the main strengths of waterjet is
its versatility. Plasma is restricted to cutting
conductive materials and laser cutting does have
limits in thickness and some materials. Waterjet
has none of these. “It’s hard to quantify what
Waterjet cutting systems offer among the most flexibility when it comes
to cutting a wide range of materials, say suppliers. seen here is oMaX's
a-Jet tilting head for cuting more complex parts.
Waterjet cutting systems are typically slower than laser or plasma
machines, but you can cost effectively add multiple cutting heads to
speed up production, says Jamie larson of Jet edge Waterjet systems.