What Materials Can a Waterjet Cut?
Waterjets are capable of cutting composites, metals, glass, stone, concrete, ceramics and rubber.
Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics
Cutting this advanced material is a major growth area for OMAX systems. The material cuts very quickly and cleanly and the OMAX abrasivejet system is now widely used in applications from aerospace components to race cars, from NASA to NASCAR.
Cutting carbon fibre reinforced plastics with an OMAX abrasive waterjet has major advantages, such as no tool clogging or wear, no need to change tooling, no special considerations or restrictions due to heat buildup, no melting, and no hazardous fumes requiring costly air handling equipment.
Fibreglass can be cut quickly and cleanly without hazardous dust or fumes by simply submerging the material during cutting.
Any fiber-reinforced material, including Kevlar reinforced personnel armor, can be quickly and cleanly cut on the OMAX without hazardous dust or fumes.
The OMAX® waterjet machine will cut all grades of steel. It produces a smooth cut on the edge without burn marks, cracking, excess burr, or other problems typically associated with heat-based cutting or mechanical cutting. The lack of heat affected zone from the abrasivejet means that the heat treatment of the steel is not changed by the cutting process.
All grades of stainless steel can be cut easily on the OMAX, even those such as 304 that are difficult to machine with other processes without heat or distortion. A heat affected zone can weaken integrity of a part and lead to failure. The lack of any Heat Affected Zones makes the abrasivejet process particularly attractive to those producing food processing and handling equipment or the aerospace industry. Polished or reflective surfaces do not negatively affect the abrasivejet process as they might with a laser cutting system.
Hardened Tool Steel
Tool steel can be cut in a fully hardened state without any change in material properties. More and more tool and die shops are finding the OMAX system to be a valuable addition with close to EDM precision at up to 10 times the speed.
Alloys of All Types
Difficult-to-machine special superalloys, such as Inconel® and Hastelloy® are easy to cut without heat or distortion on the OMAX.
Probably more aluminium is cut on OMAX systems than any other metal because it cuts so quickly and cleanly, without any thermal distortion. More and more laser specialty shops are adding an OMAX system to their mix of lasers in order to accurately cut thicker aluminium.
The OMAX system is ideal for cutting titanium, which can be a challenging material for conventional machining processes. Titanium can be cut quickly and accurately without any thermal distortion or surface embrittlement. Because titanium is so expensive, considerable cost savings can be obtained by the close nesting of parts that is possible with the abrasivejet process in order to reduce waste material.
All grades of copper cut quickly and cleanly on the OMAX without thermal distortion. The reflectivity that may be an issue for lasers is not a problem for an abrasivejet and there is no problem with “gumming” as might occur with conventional mechanical cutting systems.
Brass alloys cut quickly and cleanly with the OMAX abrasivejet process, with no thermal distortion.
The OMAX system is widely used for cutting a wide variety of glass products, from ultra-thin panels for smartphones to thick multi-layered bullet-proof panels for vehicles and buildings to panels for stained glass windows. The OMAX has the capability perform a low pressure pierce that automatically switches to high pressure mode to continue the tool path. This means that even the most brittle glass can easily be pierced to create a starting point and yet still be cut at maximum speed. The only glass that can’t be cut is tempered glass, designed to shatter into tiny pieces if cut or broken.
The OMAX system can cut stone products of all types. Applications include granite countertops, quartz blanks for precision mirrors, inlaid marble flooring, decorative wall panels and stone sculptural pieces.
Concrete cuts easily with the OMAX abrasivejet process and applications range from inlaid stepping stones to architectural features and sculptural panels.
Most ceramic materials can be cut with an OMAX abrasivejet. However if the hardness of the ceramic is greater than the hardness of garnet abrasive (between 7.5 and 8.5 on the Mohs scale), abrasivejet cutting will not be economically effective.
Softer rubber and foam rubber cut easily using a water-only nozzle without abrasive. Fibre reinforced rubber and very hard rubber can be cut cleanly using the abrasivejet process.