5 Ways To Increase Productivity With Your Waterjet

1. Cut out net blanks on the waterjet before doing final machining on a CNC mill.

You can save a lot of machining time by first cutting parts to their rough shape with the waterjet, then doing final machining on a CNC mill. Not only will the actual cutting time be shorter, but you’ll also save time in machine setup and material handling. Setting up a job on a CNC mill can be a complex, lengthy process and requires a skilled programmer. Set up on a waterjet is quick and easy. Material can be loaded or taken off an OMAX waterjet from any side of the machine. Heavy work pieces require very little fixturing because gravity does a good job of holding the material in place. Most people can learn to do basic cutting on an OMAX with a few hours of training. Part profiles can be tightly nested on a waterjet, so you can use more of the work material, reducing the cost of each part. Cutting net blanks with thermal processes like laser, plasma and EDM can leave work-hardened edges, making it more difficult for a CNC mill to machine. Since waterjet cutting doesn’t use heat, there’s no hardening of the material edges.

2. Stack thin sheets of material to cut multiples of the same part.

Use the Stack Height Calculator in the Intelli-MAX software to automatically determine the optimal number of material sheets to stack based on the material type, thickness, edge quality and part geometry.

3. Nest parts.

Nesting is a method of arranging tool paths for multiple parts as efficiently as possible to get the maximum number of parts onto a sheet of material. This reduces the amount of time spent loading, securing and unloading material, and also reduces the amount of material wasted. Intelli-MAX software has a built-in array nesting tool. There are also OMAX compatible nesting programs such as SigmaTEK and JETCAM for more advanced nesting capabilities to further improve the productivity of your OMAX waterjet.

4. Turn on tool path optimizations.

With optimizations turned on, Intelli-MAX software reads the tool path file and automatically adjusts lead ins, corners and, if you have a tilting cutting head, tilt forward to achieve faster cutting speeds. Intelli-PIERCE will automatically shrink or grow lead ins to their optimal length for dynamic piercing. Intelli-CORNER adjusts cutting speeds on inside and outside corners to cut fast while maintaining high precision. Tilt forward will automatically position the nozzle at an angle that exactly offsets the taper from the abrasivejet so there’s no need to slow the cutting speed to achieve taper-free edges.

5. Streamline the programming process with Intelli-MAX software.

You can import drawings created in other software programs directly into Intelli-MAX, which will then convert the drawing into a machine tool path that the waterjet will follow when cutting. Intelli-MAX supports more than 90 different file types, so you won’t have to go back to your customers and ask them to re-send their part files in a different format, or spend time doing the conversion yourself with multiple software programs. And with Intelli-CAM, part of the Intelli-MAX Software Suite, you can import a 3D model file, create either a 2D or a 3D tool path from it, then export the file and cut the part, all from within the same program.