Water Jet Cutting Services
During the 4th quarter of 2005 we purchased a Flow WMC2 water jet cutting machine. Flow are the market leaders with their high pressure pumps and have an arrangement with Trumpf to utilize the Trumpf Cad/Cam software to produce CNC code for the water jet. Unlike our lasers, which are on Operating Leases, we purchased the Flow water jet because we started with a short list of customers for the machine. Now that we have 3 years experience with this type of technology, a full order book and a long list of customers, future water jet machines will be leased in a similar manner to our lasers.
Water jet cutting is complimentary to laser cutting. We always try to quote and cut parts using laser, however, when the material becomes too reflective for laser, or if the material has become too thick to laser cut, or if a heat process is not allowed (especially with aerospace customers), then we use the water jet. The machine we purchased has a ‘dynamic’ cutting head with two orthogonal drives on the nozzle assembly, which compensates for cut edge taper. Prior to the introduction of this type of machine, all water jet machines either had a pronounced tapered cut edge or the feed rate was reduced to very slow speeds to compensate for taper; but at much increased cutting cost due to the increased cutting time.
Aluminium has always been a difficult material to cut with CO2 lasers due to material reflection of the laser beam, but aluminium exhibits perhaps the best cutting results of all materials on water jet machines. Most materials exhibit a very small burr on the cut edge, which in most cases necessitates only a small amount of mechanical de-burring. With the ability to control cut edge taper our Flow machine has accuracy on holes, apertures and profiles approaching the levels obtained with conventional machine tools and EDM processes.