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Aitkin, MN 56431

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Categories
Waterjet Cutting

Abrasive Precision Waterjet Cutting Is Not As Rough As It Sounds

Why Do You Need Precision Waterjet Cutting?

If you are in the manufacturing industry, utilizing the benefits of precision waterjet cutting is essential to making fine, precise, and quick cuts on nearly any type of material. Along with using pure waterjet cutting for softer items, abrasive precision waterjet cutting is the preferred method for hard, thick, and tough materials.

However, before you can begin using precision waterjet cutting to service your manufacturing needs, you need to find a reputable company that can help you safely and accurately get the job done. With Elemet Manufacturing, you can use their B2B manufacturing services for all of your industry needs. 

For those who need precision waterjet cutting, CNC machining, welding, metal fabrication, and other cutting services, contact Elemet Manufacturing

multi-axis abrasive precision waterjet cutting design

Advantages of Precision Waterjet Cutting vs. Other Cutting Operations

If you are debating between using water jet cutting versus other techniques, read on to learn why water jet cutting may be the best option for your projects. One of the other common techniques used when working with soft and hard materials is laser cutting. There are certain characteristics of precision waterjet cutting that make it the preferred cutting method, though:

  • Smooth edge quality – When using laser cutting, clients will have to create a secondary finish to eliminate the heat-affected zone. Precision Waterjet cutting creates a smooth edge that does not require any extra finishing.
  • ThicknessPrecision waterjet cutting – specifically precision abrasive waterjet cutting – can cut through materials up to 3” thick, whereas laser cutting can typically only cut materials up to .25” thick.
  • Smaller diameter – Precision waterjet cutting can cut tiny holes, whereas laser cutting cannot cut any material with a smaller diameter than the thickness.
  • Various materialsLaser cutting might be too reflective when working with metals, whereas abrasive precision waterjet cutting can cut through numerous hard materials without any byproducts or heat reflection.
  • Faster – Abrasive waterjet technology has cutting speeds of 5-10x faster when compared to laser cutting. 

clear water stream pouring into clear water against white background

Pure Precision Waterjet Cutting vs. Abrasive Precision Waterjet Cutting 

When it comes to precision waterjet cutting, two different types can help provide clean, accurate, and easy cuts: pure precision waterjet cutting and abrasive precision waterjet cutting. Before businesses and clients can choose the specific type of waterjet technology to use, they must know the pros and cons of each method. 

Pure Precision Waterjet Cutting 

Pure precision waterjet cutting uses a different type of cutting head than you would with abrasive waterjet cutting, performing the cuts without the use of a mixing chamber nozzle. The water exits the waterjet cutting head through the open space instead of coming out in a smaller stream via the tapered nozzle.

Although there is no nozzle, pure precision waterjet cutting can still make a thin stream of water and tiny, exact cuts. Since the stream of water is very fine and less powerful than other options, it is a perfect choice for cutting soft materials.

However, if you are interested in cutting harder items, making bigger cuts, or getting more work done faster, abrasive precision waterjet cutting using abrasive particles is the better choice. Pure precision waterjet cutting is helpful for those making tiny cuts in felt, paper, thin plastics, and food products but won’t stand up to the test of cutting through a range of materials.

Abrasive Precision Waterjet Cutting

The second most common waterjet cutting method is abrasive precision waterjet cutting. Although the name sounds harsh, this type of cutting actually describes the accuracy, strength, and power this type of cutting can provide. 

Using a stream of water as high as 94,000 PSI, the pressurized water exits through an orifice and maintains its strength, containing the power to cut through both hard and thick materials. 

Making abrasive cuts is the preferred technique for those who need to quickly and accurately cut through hard materials like ceramic, metal, copper, stone, or hard plastics. 

Along with being able to cut through hard materials, why should you choose abrasive precision waterjet cutting vs. pure precision waterjet cutting? 

  • Easy setup – The waterjet is easy to set up, making it simple and fast for beginners to use when cutting hard materials.
  • Low waste levels – Instead of having excess materials left over after the cutting process, the abrasive precision waterjet cutting leaves behind little waste, making cleanup fast and easy.
  • No heat generated – Since you are using pressurized water with abrasive precision waterjet cutting, there is no risk of adding excess heat to the products that can cause product damage.
  • Versatile – When using abrasive precision waterjet cutting, it is possible to cut through virtually any type of material, whether 10” thick or ¼” thick. 

the word "why" written on foggy window

Why You Should Choose Elemet Manufacturing for Abrasive Precision Waterjet Cutting 

Compared to other similar manufacturing businesses, Elemet Manufacturing offers a wide range of services to clients so you can complete all of your equipment and manufacturing needs simultaneously. 

Elemet Manufacturing offers the top precision waterjet cutting services in the industry, providing top-of-the-line equipment that can cut through almost any type of material. With CNC abrasive precision waterjet cutting machines, you can easily cut through aluminum, metal, plastic, carpet, rubber, and titanium.

Precision waterjet cutting is the preferred option over other cutting methods, as it creates accurate cuts, does not use unsafe levels of heat, does not produce harmful byproducts, cuts 3D materials, and provides a fast turnaround time for all projects. 

Elemet also offers CNC machining services, helping create prototypes and products for clients concerned about replicating their complex and precise models. Using a 3-axis, 4-axis, or 5-axis CNC machine, you can create a realistic prototype that includes compound angles and precise features.

Another reason to select Elemet over other manufacturing businesses is due to its high-quality welding services. Welding services make it possible to work with a wide range of materials, like titanium and steel.

Using the welding services has numerous benefits over other options, such as high operating speeds, low pricing, and large-project scalability. 

Lastly, Elemet offers metal fabrication and cutting services to clients who need to rely consistently on quality parts. Using custom metal fabrication and laser cutting services is beneficial for companies who need bending, cutting, and assembling of metal parts. 

Not sold yet? Contact Elemet Manufacturing today to see how their skilled team of engineers can help you with your manufacturing project. 

Categories
Waterjet Cutting

Plasma vs. Precision Waterjet Cutting

If you need to have raw materials cut, you have a few different options for cutting methods.

Two of the most popular methods for cutting raw materials are plasma cutting and precision waterjet cutting. Elemet Manufacturing offers the cutting services you need to accomplish any job.

Elemet Manufacturing is located in Aiken, Minnesota. Formed by combining the forces of Precision Waterjet Concepts and Aitken Iron Works, Elemet Manufacturing can meet all of your cutting and machining needs. 

Elemet offers CNC machining, CNC milling, turning, threading, 5-axis precision waterjet cutting, welding, painting, and other complementary services.

Elemet Manufacturing offers state-of-the-art precision waterjet cutting that can handle even the most challenging jobs. Elemet provides two options for precision waterjet cutting, CNC abrasive waterjet cutting, and pure waterjet non-metal cutting. 

CNC abrasive waterjet cutting is best for metals like stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, and titanium. Pure water non-metal waterjet cutting machines are best for non-metallic materials like plastic, foam, rubber, carpet, glass, marble, and stone.

What makes Elemet unique is its 5-axis precision waterjet cutting technology. Most waterjet cutters make flat cuts along three axes: X (left to right), Y (up and down), and Z (parallel). Elemet, on the other hand, can achieve precise, intricate 3D cuts by cutting along five axes.

In addition to the X, Y, and Z axes, Elemet precision waterjet cutting machines can also cut along the A-axis, which rotates around the X-axis, and the B axis, which rotates around the Y-axis.

Elemet’s 5-axis precision waterjet cutting machine can even cut stainless steel by combining high-velocity water with an abrasive material. 

Elemet’s state-of-the-art machines can cut metal at two to four times the speed of traditional machining. If you’re interested in cutting services from Elemet, complete an estimate form.

Depending on your job, either waterjet or plasma jet may be the best option for you. Read on to learn more about waterjet vs. plasma cutting to choose the best cutting method for you.

Precision Waterjet Cutting

precision waterjet cutting

With waterjet technology, a machine uses a mixture that usually includes water and some abrasive material. The machine forces this ultra high-pressure water mixture along a designated path, thus cutting the raw material.

To achieve this mixture, the abrasive material (very often garnet) travels through a line into the mixing component of the machine.

In the mixing component, the abrasive mixes with water. From there, the machine sprays out the mixture with ultra high pressure, exceeding 50,000 psi. 

This process creates a cutting stream that sprays out of the tip of a ceramic nozzle. The cutting machine moves this nozzle along a path designated by the machine’s software and at an appropriate cutting speed for the material.

Plasma Cutting

A plasma cutting machine

Rather than using water and abrasive materials, plasma cutters rely on gas (often nitrogen, argon, or oxygen) and electricity to achieve precise cuts.

Plasma cutting machines force gas through a small opening at extremely high pressures. Once forced through this opening, the gas meets with electricity that travels through the cutting nozzle. 

During this process, the gas is heated to such a high temperature that it becomes plasma. Given its high temperature, the gas can melt raw materials, blowing away excess materials and leaving a precise cut.

Comparing Waterjet to Plasma Cutting

Professionals in the cutting industry consider precision waterjet cutting to be more precise than plasma cutting—precision waterjet cutting results in higher cut quality across a variety of materials. 

Most waterjet cutters can cut at a precision of +/- .005 inches (although some are even more precise than this). Unlike some plasma cutters, the cutting speed can be adjusted on waterjet machines, leaving a smoothly finished surface that does not require secondary machining.

Plasma cutters can also create smooth finishes, although their precision of +/- .01-.03 inches is markedly less than waterjet cutters. 

The thicker the material, the less precise and clean the cut will be when you’re dealing with plasma cutting machines. The high-temperature plasma cannot always melt through thick materials without creating unwanted slag along the cut.

Another difference between waterjet and plasma cutting involves materials. Plasma cutters are limited to cutting metals, including steel, stainless, and aluminum. 

Plasma cutters are not recommended for cutting conductive metals because these materials do not cut well on the machine. Experts recommend plasma cutters cut through materials no greater than .5 inches thick.

Waterjet cutters, on the other hand, can cut through virtually any material. Precision waterjet cutting machines can handle hard materials, like steel, and can cut soft materials, like bread.

Because waterjet cutters do not rely on heat to achieve cuts, they can cut through materials of considerably more thickness than what plasma cutters can handle.

Cost

High pressure waterjet aluminium cutting.

The determining factor between waterjet and plasma cutting is often the cost. For thinner, metallic materials, plasma cutting is often the quicker and cheaper option. 

However, when cutting thick and/or non-metallic materials, precision waterjet cutting is better and less expensive. Furthermore, precision waterjet cutting can eliminate the need for secondary machining, thus saving further on costs. 

Wrap-Up

A plasma cutter cutting out dragon shapes out of metal.

While there are many options for machine cutting, depending on the material and thickness of your job, the leading two technologies are precision waterjet cutting and plasma cutting. 

Precision waterjet cutting achieves precise, finished cuts by combining water with abrasive material and shooting a cutting nozzle at incredibly high velocity.

On the other hand, a plasma cutter heats gases to very high temperatures and achieves cuts by melting the raw material.

When it comes to cutting services, Elemet Manufacturing cannot be beaten. Elemet offers state-of-the-art, advanced cutting technologies to meet all of your needs. 

With its innovative, 5-axis precision waterjet cutting system, Elemet can tackle jobs from dense stainless steel to pliable plastic and rubber. If plasma is more appropriate for your cutting needs, Elemet also offers plasma jet cutting services. 

To get started with Elemet, simply complete an estimate request. Once you complete this request, you should expect to hear from an Elemet Manufacturing representative.

The representative will learn more from you about your job to determine the best cutting option for you. 

When you’re looking to achieve precise, finished, high-quality cuts across a variety of materials, turn to Elemet manufacturing.

Categories
Waterjet Cutting

An Introduction To Precision Waterjet Cutting

Imagine one machine that can cut through materials from 1/16th of an inch thick to over ten inches thick. Oh, lots of tools can do that, right? What if you could find a machine that could do that without any machinery switch-out? 

One that you could change out the material while only resetting the program you’re using? Let us introduce you to precision waterjet cutting!

Whether you have a large-volume or small-volume need, contact the pros at Elemet Manufacturing, Inc. (EMI), to tackle your project.

Precision waterjet cutting uses a highly-concentrated stream of water to form basic or complex shapes. Tap water is forced through a small hole to concentrate an extreme amount of energy in a small area. The restriction of the tiny orifice creates high pressure and a high-velocity beam.

waterjet cutting system is a computer-driven tool that can precisely and smoothly cut a wide variety of materials. This process produces highly durable parts well-suited for both functional prototypes and end-use production.

The customer can select from a vast range of materials, based on the strength, conductivity, weight, and corrosion-resistance required for your project.

At EMI, our 5-Axis Waterjet Cutting machines are well-suited for working with:

  • Alloys
  • Ferrous metals
  • Non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum, stainless steel, carbon fiber, and titanium
  • Security glass

What other materials can be cut with precision waterjet cutting? The list is almost endless!

Acrylic Copper Lexan Reflective materials
Brass Fiber-reinforced materials Magnetic materials Rubber
Bronze Fiberglass Marble Steel
Bulletproof glass Foam Pipe Stone
Carbon steel Glass Plastics Tile
Cast iron Granite Plating Tool steels
Ceramics Hardened steel Plexiglass Urethane
Composite Hastelloy Polycarbonate Vinyl composite tiles
Concrete Inconel Raw metal Wood
  Laminated materials Rubber  

Precision waterjet cutting systems have even been used to cut paper products, textiles, and food!

Are there any materials that can’t get cut with a waterjet? 

Very few! 

Diamonds are too hard to cut. Tempered glass will shatter when it’s cut with a waterjet. (This is, of course, what tempered glass is designed to do, and why it’s frequently used in windshields!)

Precision waterjet cutting

Benefits of Precision Waterjet Cutting

What makes precision waterjet cutting a better choice over other cutting methods, like EDM, laser, or traditional water stream?

Cold Water Process

Since the jets are using cold water, there are no heat-affected areas on the finished product. Customers can expect no thermal stress, no burning, no melting, no heat-induced cracking, or hardening.

Precision waterjet cutting is especially helpful when working with softer or heat-sensitive materials, such as rubber or plastic. There won’t be any melting or chance of two pieces getting “stuck” together.

Versatility & Flexibility

One of the most significant advantages when choosing precision waterjet cutting is its versatility. As mentioned above, the waterjet is capable of cutting through many different materials and thicknesses. Waterjet cutting is also omnidirectional, meaning the stream can cut in any direction.

Complex shapes that can be cut with precision waterjet cutting have virtually no limitations. Intricate designs that include tight radii, narrow corners, small holes, irregular shapes, and other precise cuts are easily achieved.

Excellent Edge Quality

This accuracy adds up to savings, as they cut down on the need for post-production finishing.

Speed

Waterjets can perforate most materials without any starting hole, so beginning a project is much faster.

Since the primary “tool” used is a jet of water, there is no tool-changing necessary when switching between projects or cuts. This lack of different tools can get your project completed faster!

Cost-Effectiveness

Because of the reduced need for post-production finishing and no tool-changing needed, the savings pass onto the customer. Overall, precision waterjet cutting is much more cost-effective than other cutting methods.

The “Green” Factor

As a cold cutting process, waterjet cutting eliminates slag deformation and dross waste, both unfortunate effects found in plasma and laser cutting.

Holes and lines can be closer to each material’s edge. Because of the accuracy of precision waterjet cutting, less waste gets produced. This lack of waste is, obviously, much more eco-friendly. 

Even the “scrap metal” can be recycled and used in new products, practically eliminating waste.

Precision waterjet cutting is also much more eco-friendly as it reduces the dust and hazardous gases expelled into the air.

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Waterjet Cutting Products

Precision waterjet cutting can take on almost any project that you can imagine. Chances are, you have some precision-cut pieces next to you right now.

Some fascinating products that are produced with precision waterjet cutting include:

  • Circuit boards for electronics
  • Cut food (this also cuts down on any pollutants or disease spread in food)
  • Engine parts for cars and airplanes
  • Floor liners for cars
  • Floor or tile medallions
  • Gaskets
  • Narrow slits in cardboard, paper materials, or fiberglass
  • Stepping stones and bench seats
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Finishes for Precision Waterjet-Cut Products

With the need for post-finishing work lowered, you can still get different finishes on your jet-cut pieces.

  • Standard. This standard finish is just your fundamental, non-finished part. Suitable to use “as-is.”
  • Bead Blast. This bead blast finish leaves the part finished with a smooth, matte appearance.
  • Anodized. Your part will be corrosion-resistant. The finish can be in different colors. The most common choices are black, red, clear, or gold. 
  • Powder Coat. The powder coat option is a little more intensive of a finish. A powder coating is sprayed on and then baked in an oven to adhere to the part’s surface. The powder coat is available in a wide variety of colors. 
  • Custom Finishes. Depending on what you’re looking for, custom finishes can be made available.

Industries That Benefit From Precision Waterjet Cutting Services

Waterjet-cut parts are used in virtually every industry on the planet, in one way or another. 

But some industries that regularly use these parts include:

  • Aerospace manufacturers
  • Agriculture
  • Artistic
  • Automotive and automotive aftermarket suppliers
  • Commercial packaging and display manufacturers
  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Flooring
  • General contractors and architects
  • Machine shop OEMs
  • Marine
  • Medical device makers
  • Military organizations
  • Mining
  • Oil and gas
  • Race car component builders
  • Sign manufacturers
  • Transportation

For more information about waterjet technology, visit:

Do you have a project, and you are interested in learning more about precision water jet cutting? 

Contact Elemet Manufacturing to submit an RFQ.

The amazing thing about flow waterjets is that they can make parts with tight tolerances. Some systems can even create parts that have tolerance as small as 0.001″ (0.025 mm). For waterjet cutting, the typical part tolerance usually falls somewhere between 0.003″ and 0.005″.

It is crucial to comprehend the distinction between the positional accuracy of a machine and the parts it cuts. Many waterjet manufacturers advertise accuracies that usually fall within +/-0.0005” to +/-0.0015”, but this only refers to the positional accuracy of a machine and not the parts it cuts.

The operating costs for precision waterjet cutting and laser cutting are relatively similar. However, the higher cutting speed of the laser produces parts more quickly, lowering the per piece cost. On thicker materials or those affected by heat, that cost advantage may be overruled by the waterjet’s versatility.

Abrasive waterjets are the best equipment for cutting through tougher metals, allowing you to take on more lucrative projects. With an abrasive waterjet, you can easily cut through not only mild steel and aluminum but also titanium, Inconel®, brass, and tool steel.

A waterjet can not cut through diamond or tempered glass. Diamonds are only cut by materials harder than themselves. Tempered glass is used for it’s increased strength and thermal resistance, but under extreme pressure, as supplied by a waterjet, it is designed to shatter into tiny pieces.

On average, waterjet cutters can cut approximately six inches per minute, notably faster than EDM cutters that only manage around one-tenth of that speed.

Precision waterjets use a water stream between 30,000–90,000 psi (210–620 MPa) generated by a high-pressure pump. Abrasive particles can be added for additional cutting strength.

Not yet. Waterjet cutting is currently only used to cut completely through a material. However, research is being done to better model waterjet behaviors to create etched surfaces.
Waterjet cutting costs per hour vary widely, depending on the machine and equipment quality. Typically, a waterjet cutting cost per hour is between $12 and $30. This number can go up or down in certain cases.
Waterjet cutters are commonly used to cut through 4-inch steel blocks, but they can be reconfigured to cut through 9 or even 18 inches of stainless steel. However, anything thicker than nine inches substantially increases the cutting time.

CNC milling is a process whereby you can cut into multiple planes, depending on how many axes your machine has. This method is more expensive than waterjet cutting but takes considerably less time. On the other hand, waterjets can machine brittle materials, pre-hardened materials, and difficult-to-machine metals like Titanium, Hastalloy, Inconel, Stainless Steel, and Hardened Tool Steels that CNC Milling cannot match in cutting.