Why Waterjet Cutting Works

There are many different manufacturing processes that can be used to produce custom gaskets, prototypes, and seals. While M&P Sealing Inc. provides diverse manufacturing services, waterjet cutting is often the preferred choice. Compared to plasma cutting, laser cutting, or electrical discharge machining (EDM), precision computer numerical control (CNC) waterjet cutting takes the lead. Read on to learn about the many advantages of waterjet cutting and why it is becoming the fastest growing machining process around.

No Unnecessary Finishing Costs: Waterjet cutting produces a smooth, sandblasted look that is free of burnt edges, chips, burrs, and slag. Once a gasket, seal, or other part undergoes waterjet machining, it is considered to have a “finished cut.” Extra finishing processes are not necessary, which results in a cost savings M&P Sealing is happy to pass on to its customers.

No Heat-affected Zone (HAZ): Some machining processes involve burning or melting, which can alter a material’s inherent chemical properties. With CNC hydrocutting, this is not an issue. Known to insulate and absorb heat, water is the cutting medium in this machining process and works to maintain the properties of materials, such as metals, plastics, and composites.

No Minimum Quantity: Manufacturing processes like the punch press use a set of punches and dies to form parts. Based on a drawing, a custom die is created and once that is formed, production can begin. The expense and time involved in creating the die is often balanced with long-run production. But, what if you need just one large prototype or short-run gaskets shipped the next day? With waterjet cutting, all production needs to start is the drawing, which results in a lower cost-per-piece for short runs.

No Mechanical Stresses: In some machining processes, the manufactured piece of material must be clamped down or affixed to the machine’s surface, so that it does not move. This fixturing can produce mechanical stresses into the work-piece, which compromises the overall structural quality. In hydrocutting, a powerful stream of water is directed downward, pushing the work-piece into the machine table with enough force that it requires minimal or no fixturing.

No Material Limitations: There are virtually no limits to what waterjet machines can cut. Pure waterjet cutting is used to cut soft materials; abrasive waterjet cutting is used to cut hard materials, and M&P Sealing offers both services. We inventory many materials to solve your application needs. These materials include:

Rubber Plastics Misc.
Neoprene Polycarbonate Closed cell sponge
EPDM HDPE Open cell sponge
Nitrile (Buna-N) LDPE Polyurethane foam
Silicone Teflon Fishpaper
Viton Polypropylene Vulcanized fiber
Hypalon Vinyl Non-asbestos
Butyl Polystyrene EMI shielding
Plant fiber
High performance gasket materials
High temperature gasket materials
Cork
Cork rubber
Felt
Thermally conductive rubber

These are just a few of the reasons why more and more manufacturers are choosing waterjet cutting over other machining services. Contact M&P Sealing Inc by phone at 1-800-351-0026 or by email at sales@mp-sealing.com to find out if waterjet cutting is right for your next job.

Types of CNC Waterjet Cutting Services

There are two types of waterjet cutting – pure waterjet and abrasive waterjet. M&P Sealing is able to operate both, even in the same job. Transforming one cutter to the other is done in minutes. While pure waterjet cutting is used to cut soft materials, such as cork, closed cell sponge, and solid rubber; abrasive waterjet cutting is used to cut hard materials, such as metals, stone, composites, and ceramics. In pure waterjet cutting, a supersonic stream of water works to erode the material, but in abrasive waterjet cutting, that stream of water is used to accelerate abrasive particles and it is those particles that work to erode the material.

Pure waterjet cutting results in extremely detailed geometry of soft, light weight, and flexible materials; whereas abrasive waterjet can produce the same level of detail on materials with a hardness up to and slightly beyond aluminum oxide ceramic (often called alumina, AD 99.9). When compared with plasma, laser, and EDM, precision hydrocutting has distinct advantages.

Waterjet Plasma Laser EDM
Process Erosion process: high speed liquid sandpaper Burning/Melting process using high temperature ionized gas arc Melting process using concentrated laser light beam Erosion process using electrical discharge
Materials Any material Primarily steel, stainless steel and aluminum Primarily steel, stainless steel and aluminum

Can also cut a variety of other materials

Conductive materials only
Thickness Up to 24 inches, virtually any material

Z constraint is only limited to thickness

Up to 2-3 inches, depending on material Generally 1 inch or less, depending on materials Generally 12 inches or less
Part Accuracy Up to .001” Up to .010” Up to .001” Up to .0001”
Machine Setup Same setup for all materials Different setup for different jobs Different gases and parameters for different jobs Different wire types for different jobs

 

Contact M&P Sealing Inc. by phone at 1-800-351-0026 or by email at sales@mp-sealing.com to learn more about waterjet machining.