CC Grigoraș, B Chiriță, G Brabie, V Zichil, E Herghelegiu, C Tâmpu and VA Ciubotariu “Vasile Alecsandri” from University of Bacau, Romania examines impact of process parameters from water jet cutting.
Water jet cutting was used in 1850 in mining. It took 80 years for the first industrial manufacturing machines to be developed with low pressure on soft material. After World War II, Luxembourg debuted its first high-pressure water jet cutting machine for plastics.
In 1958, the first high pressure water jet equipment was developed to cut at 690 MPa hard material such as PH15. Today, water jet cutting (WJC) involves abrasive mix when dealing with high strength material, complex shapes, superior surface finish and waste reduction.
It was deemed non-conventional but efficient enabling cutting soft or hard, thin or thick materials with no thermal deformation than laser or plasma cutting — also known as “cold” process as it cuts without generating heat. No heat-affected zones avoided localised damage, preserving structural and chemical integrity. WJC is also environmentally friendly, cost-effective, has short setup time and reduces workpiece waste.
It can cut at low or high pressure while adjusting traverse speed, standoff distance, and angle depending on workpiece material. Manufacturing industry benefits from WJC when using full 5-axis capabilities. This assure holes can be cut with chamfers included, and complex parts such as elicoidale gear or turbine blades can be executed.
WJC has disadvantages too; one being unable to cut thick and rigid materials with high accuracy. A direct cause is generated by not accurately controlling the abrasive water jet. Thus, the cut surface presents deviations from perpendicularity emerging from differences from material volume the water jet removes entering the material compared when it exits.
Complex kinematic systems for compensation were developed to overcome these deviations, using comprehensive geometrical cutting models in the machine’s software, but they are expensive and incompatible with existing machines.
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