Waterjet cutting machines – such as a milling machine – can be used in all sorts of different industries and for a range of different purposes as well without the need for fossil fuel such as crude oil and natural gas. While some of them may be predictable, such as stone, ceramic, and glass cutting, there are also plenty more that may surprise you. So, let’s focus on a few of them in the following blog post to shine a light on waterjet cutting machines and their usefulness.

Aerospace

The first industry that can make use of waterjet cutting machines that may surprise you is the aerospace industry. There are plenty of fan blades and other small vanes in which these machines can help to get the intricate details spot on. When you are talking about a spacecraft, you obviously need everything to work perfectly for the safety and success of the mission. There is no doubt that waterjet cutting machines can play a central role in this.

The Industries That Rely on Waterjet Cutting Machines That May Surprise You

Special Metals Cutting

It has already been mentioned how cutting certain materials such as stone and glass has become normalized with waterjet cutting machines, but the same may not be true with special sheet metal such as aluminum, titanium, and stainless steels. When it comes to getting these materials in the shape you need them to be in, a waterjet cutting machine can certainly help out significantly cutting down on both cost and lead time.

Defence

The armed forces industry is one that can often get overlooked when thinking about industries, but there is no doubt that a lot of money is spent by the ministry of defence on items such as military aircraft and waterjet cutting systems can play their part in it. Both personnel and vehicular armour can use one of these devices, and they can be utilized in a range of other different capacities.

Waterjet cutting machines – such as a milling machine – can be used in all sorts of different industries and for a range of different purposes as well without the need for fossil fuel

Food Processing

There is plenty of food processing equipment that also makes use of a waterjet machine. With so much of our food production done at an industrial scale in the modern world, it is inevitable that the unique properties of waterjet cutting machines are going to come in handy.

Education

Looking at waterjet cutters from a different angle, they can also prove to be highly useful in the world of education as well. Ultimately, they can be used as educational tools for everybody, from high school students to people completing university physics courses. With so many of these machines being used in different industries, it makes sense that people are learning about them from a young age to influence their future careers.

Though there is a wide range of industries that we could potentially discuss, this list gives you a sense of the diversity naturally involved in waterjet cutting machines and their range of different capabilities. As time goes on, there may prove to be even more that are added to the list that proves to make use of their range of positive attributes and properties.

Plasma cutting machines – which are different from waterjet machines – have steadily started to replace traditional torches thanks to their range of advantages and the level of usefulness that they can offer to all sorts of different industries. Essentially, they use an inert gas that is compressed and produce a high voltage electric arc that simply slices through the sheet metal in question. So, in the following blog post, we are going to take a more in detail look at the industries that rely on plasma cutting the most instead of fossil fuel like crude oil and natural gas.

Aircraft Industry

When people start talking about plasma cutters, it is often the aircraft industry that is the one that will naturally start to spring up in conversation first. As well as military aircraft made by armed forces for the ministry of defence, these tools can also prove to be highly useful in the commercial aircraft field and the aerospace industry. Essentially, the plasma cutters are used to cut, create, and weld different components together depending on what sort of job is required at the time.

Automobile Industry

You may have naturally started to make the connection due to their usefulness in the aircraft industry, but the automobile field is another one in which plasma cutting – like water jet cutters – can be utilized. Similarly, its main function will be to slice through the different types of metals commonly found in motorcars, as well as create the types of unique shapes that are needed based on the specific needs and requirements of the manufacturer in question. Not only this but different parts can be welded together in a way that may have been much more challenging when we start looking at different tools and pieces of equipment.

What Industries Utilise Plasma Cutting? 1

Locksmith Industry

When a locksmith is called in to deal with a particularly tough job, and they need to slice their way through metal like stainless steels that are not automatically easy to deal with, it is often a plasma cutter that is commonly used in order to cut through them. This is down to their natural efficiency in doing the job. Otherwise, a significant portion of time would have to be spent attempting to deal with the problem in another manner.

Construction Industry

Perhaps one of the more obvious uses for plasma cutters that you may have already thought of is in the construction industry. Again, it comes down to their overall effectiveness in being able to cut through metal and being able to create different shapes and weld together what is leftover using robotics.

Art Industry

In fact, plasma cutters can also be used in a more creative guise. When the artist would like to work with different types of metal that is not always going to be as easy to slice through, it is often a plasma cutter that is the tool that they will turn to in their times of need. They can also be used in the food industry.

This wide range of different industries can end up using plasma cutting in one way or another instead of oil and gas, and there are also plenty more that could be added to the list.

Before you decide that a waterjet cutting machine is going to be useful in your industry and to your particular business, there may be some key questions that you would like to have answered first. One of these is likely to relate to how precise the cutting head you have will be. This is a query that we will examine in more detail in the following blog post. To give the short answer: yes, waterjet cutting has high accuracy and precision of the high pressure pumps. Before we find out why, we will need to look closer at what it actually is and what sort of materials can be partitioned with it.

What is waterjet cutting?

Before going any further into describing the type of accuracy that you can expect, we first need to think about what the waterjet machine is cutting in more detail. Essentially, it is a cold cutting process that utilizes a high velocity and extremely high pressure water stream that may also be used in combination with a certain abrasive mineral substance for abrasive waterjet cutting.

What materials can be cut with it?

A waterjet cutting machine is capable of cutting all sorts of different hard and soft materials, but some of the most common ones on the list include stone, plastic, metals - including stainless steel, wood, and composites, which obviously covers off all sorts of different industries to increase the cutting capacity. In fact, it is only a few types of material that are going to be unsuitable for the efficient cutting of the water jet process entirely.

How Precise Is a Waterjet Cutting Machine? 2

What makes waterjet cutting so accurate?

Waterjet systems have been created in such a way that it is highly precise and can deal with tolerances that are extremely high and often cannot be supported by other forms of cutting. In fact, materials of up to 10 inches thick can be cut through, and it is also a highly accurate cut process if you are looking to work with materials that are sensitive to heat in one way or another.

What are the main advantages of the accuracy?

Obviously, there are bound to be specific circumstances in which the cutting techniques of the pure water and cold cutting process prove to be highly desirable and appealing. First of all, the edges that can be cut in often tough materials can be made to be standardized, and they can also be made to be highly smooth. Not only this, but you do not tend to have to switch from tool to tool as the precision instruments work widely. The programming of the waterjet cutting machines can be done from a computer, which means that the process does not need a huge amount of interaction once it has been successfully programmed on the device used.

With this blog, you now have a general overview that gives you some more information about waterjet cutters and just how accurate they can be. Ultimately, this is a process that can be used in all sorts of iterations and industries as diverse as construction, aerospace, art, education, and more.

A plasma cutter is a piece of equipment that has become highly popular in recent years for its ability to quickly and accurately cut through metals. As you may expect, it is the type of equipment that can be utilized across all sorts of different industries, and there is no doubt that many businesses make the most of it on a daily basis. What sort of materials can CNC plasma cutting work on? Well, it is the metals that conduct electricity. We are going to go into more detail about this later in the blog post, but first, we need to look at plasma cutting closer to find out what it is all about.

What is plasma cutting?

Before we look at the different types of metal that can be worked on with this cutting system, we first need to look closer and what plasma cutting actually is. Well, it is essentially a quick and easy way that has been developed to cut through metals that conduct electricity in a straight line. The oxy fuel cutting and oxy fuel torch can be done with different machine types, including those that are handheld with a pilot arc.

How does plasma cutting work?

Now that we know more about what plasma cutting actually is, we should think about exactly how it works and get some cutting tips. Essentially, it uses DC voltage that will warm up compressed air to a high temperature. When this has happened, the ionized gas will cause a plasma arc to be created, which will then flow through the cutting tip to give it the level of accuracy and travel speed required to produce a high cut quality.

What can a plasma cutting machine cut through? 3

What metals will a plasma cutting machine cut through?

We already established that plasma cutting machines are specifically designed to cut through metals with a cutting head, and it is the ones that conduct electricity that it is known for getting through, including stainless steel, mild steel, carbon steel, expanded steel, copper, brass, aluminium, and anything else that is conductive.

What can a plasma cutter not cut?

Of course, the cutting process cannot be used on everything. The cutting methods require the metal needs to be able to conduct electricity otherwise it will not react properly to the ionized gas that is coming through the torch. In short, it needs to be a conductive material that you are cutting through. This means that cutting should not be attempted on other material types, including glass, wood, plastic, and any metals that are widely known to be poor conductors of electricity.

How thick can a plasma cutter cut?

Now, you may be wondering about the thickness of the material that laser cutting can get through. It tends to be that a handheld device will be able to get through up to 38mm of steel, whereas an industrial model has the power to get through 150mm when needed. The type of metal that you are cutting through is also going to make a difference here.

So, in conclusion, it is the conductive metals that can be cut through with plasma cutting machines.

Are you considering purchasing a plasma cutting machine but are not sure if this is the right cutting system for you?

If yes, you have come to the right place!  

Arguably one of the most innovative cutting machines currently on the market, CNC plasma cutters are able to cut through both thin and thick materials and offer a cost effective, highly efficient way to cut through metals such as mild steel.

Still not sure if you should invest in plasma cutting systems?

Keep reading to find out all of the advantages and disadvantages of CNC plasma cutting so that you can make the best decision for your business.

Advantages of plasma cutting machines

Utmost precision

Due to the plasma arc, plasma cutting machines offer the utmost precision, which makes them ideal for cutting intricate shapes. In fact, they can be guided with the same level of precision as drawing a line with a pencil.

High speed

Plasma cutters are able to cut very quickly, making them one of the most productive and efficient cutting methods. These fast process times also mean that there is less risk of metal abrasion and cutting errors.

Versatility

Plasma cutting can be used on a wide variety of metals, including to cut steel, iron, copper and alloys due to the power of the pilot arc. Furthermore, they provide a high quality cut edge every time.

Computer controlled

If you are looking to maximise productivity, you should know that plasma cutting machines can be computer controlled. This means that you do not need as many workers to operate them and that you can continue to work outside of your current operational hours.

Cost effective

Plasma cutting equipment is widely recognised as great value for money. Plus, plasma torches rarely require maintenance, so you will not need to spend money on replacement parts.

Disadvantages of plasma cutting machines

Can only cut through materials of about 1 inch

While a plasma cutter can cut through pretty much any metal that conducts electricity, in terms of thickness, it can only accommodate around 1 inch.

The cutting process is noisy

Although you are probably used to a little, or a lot, of noise in your workshop, you should know that plasma cutters tend to be loud. Plus, generate a lot of fumes, so you need to make sure your workspace is well ventilated.

Eye protection is needed

The electrical arc creates very bright flashes during the cutting process, so you need to make sure that every one of your workers are supplied with protective goggles and offered safety training.

Would you like to know more about plasma cutting machines and how they can help your business? Contact us here today and one of our team will talk you through our plasma cutting machines to help you pick the right one for your cutting needs.

Thinking about purchasing CNC plasma cutters but are worried about how they need to be operated?

While using a plasma cutter for the first time may seem like a daunting process, the plasma cutting process is actually fairly straightforward, and you will be amazed at the high quality finish that they deliver.

What is plasma cutting?

Plasma cutting offers a highly efficient and cost effective way to cut steel and any other metal that conducts electricity. Using DC voltage to heat compressed air to a very high temperature, plasma cutting machines then ionise the atoms to create a pilot arc.

It is this small jet of plasma that pushes through and melts the metal, resulting in a precise cut edge and superior finish. 

How to set up plasma cutting machines

Using plasma cutting machines is simple and straightforward. All you need to do is follow the below steps.

  1. Connect your plasma cutter to your chosen air compressor.
  2. Connect your plasma cutter to either a 240V or 415V supply. This will be dependent on how powerful a machine you bought.
  3. Connect the earth lead to your workpiece
  4. Connect your plasma torch to the cutting machine
  5. Select your cutting amperage – the thicker the material, the higher amperage needed
  6. Press the switch on your torch handle and move the torch across the work as the electric arc cuts the metal.

You can choose to start from the edge of the piece or make a hole in the middle of the metal. Plasma cutting machines are capable of cutting through both thin and thick materials, and you can cut different sizes and shapes using templates.

In terms of ease of use, plasma cutting machines are hand held and have no heavy gas bottles that you need to transport around. They can be easily placed on the cutting table and carried from one work space to another.  

Plus, if you have a large work order and need to cut outside of normal working hours, plasma cutters can be computer controlled, so less power is needed, and you can still expect a high quality, precise cut.

How to cut at the right speed

If you cut too slow, your plasma arc machine may start to splutter. However, if you cut too fast, you may experience a poor cut quality and a blowback of dross.

Therefore, you need to make sure that you are cutting at the right speed. To determine this, when you are cutting from the edge of the material, you need to ensure that the metal has been fully cut through and that the dross is coming out at a maximum of a 10-20 degree angle.

If the angle starts to increase and gets close to a 45-degree angle, you need to slow down your cutting speed. If you are struggling to get a precise and clean cut, you may need to increase your amperage.

Not sure which plasma cutting machine to buy for your business? Contact us here and we will talk you through your cutting needs and plasma cutting options.

Abrasive waterjet systems have become increasingly popular in applications such as steel service centres, equipment manufacturers and fabricators due to their cut quality and lack of heat.

However, do you really know how they work and how much pressure is needed for these cutting systems to operate?

Within the below blog, you will find out everything you need to know about the water jet cut process, including exactly how much pressure these high pressure pumps need and how this pressure is the driving force behind their overall efficiency.

How does waterjet cutting work?

Waterjet cutting machines use an ultra-high pressure stream of water to carry an abrasive and pure grit. This abrasive does the job of a mechanical sawing action and results in a smooth and precise cut.

Known as one of the most versatile cutting processes, water jet cutters can cut through a wide range of materials, including stainless steels and glass.

Waterjet cutting machines work with an intensifier pump which creates very high water pressure to cut through even the hardest of materials.

How much pressure is needed to cut materials?

As you would expect, a stream of pure water mixed with an abrasive is not enough to cut through sturdy materials. Instead, it is the speed at which the abrasive hits the plate that facilitates the cutting process. To make the velocity fast enough to cut, the water is pressurised into an ultra-high pressure.

 Typical waterjet cutting pressure is between 50,000 and 60,000 psi. However, you can find new cnc machining that is pressurised up to 90,000 psi. When the water is at this pressure, it is then released through a small orifice in the cutting head. This resulting stream of water is supersonic, which means that it travels faster than the speed of sound and can therefore cut through almost anything.

Plus, these highly efficient cutting machines require very little water, so they are very environmentally friendly.

Why do high levels of pressure matter?

If you are not sure what level of pressure your water jet cutters need to have, then it can be a good idea to find out how high pressure helps the cutting process.

Firstly, the higher the pressure, the higher levels of productivity you can expect. As the pressure increases, so does your cutting speed. At 60,000 psi, the garnet abrasive accounts for over half of the total running cost. However, if you run at 87,000 psi, the abrasive cost falls to less than half.

High pressure also leads to shorter cycle times which means that you can produce more parts per hour and complete more jobs per day.

Furthermore, as the speed of the water stream increases, the quicker the abrasive cuts, and therefore, less abrasive is needed.

Are you ready to invest in a waterjet machine? Do not hesitate to contact us here and let our experienced and friendly team help you make the right choice for your business.

Whether you are not satisfied with your current cut process or you are looking for a faster and more efficient cutting system, there is no denying that waterjet cutting is having its moment.

Using high pressure pumps to cut a wide range of materials, water jet cutters are often mixed with other abrasive particles so that you can enjoy a seamless cut time and time again.

However, are there any downsides to this method of cutting?

Let’s take a closer look at both the advantages and disadvantages of these innovative cutting systems so that you can make the right choice for your business.

Advantages of water jet cutting

More sustainable

If you are looking to make your business more eco-friendly, then you will be happy to hear that waterjet cutting machines are greener than other cutting methods. Not only do they not create any hazardous waste, thanks to the close-looped system, but they also require very little pure water to work.

They can cut through almost anything

Arguably one of the top benefits of water jet cutters when compared to other cutting machines, they can cut through almost any material. These include stainless steels, bullet-proof glass, and even materials that have reflective surfaces.

They use less heat

Water jet cutters do not cause any adjacent areas to the cutting space to become heated, which means they are more likely to remain intact and uncompromised by the cutting process.

Better cut quality

If you are looking for a highly accurate cut, water jet cutting machines are the way to go. Capable of achieving a 0.13mm of accuracy, as well as being able to cut 3D shapes, no other cutting machine delivers this level of precision.

They are cheaper

In terms of operating your cutting machine, water jet cutters are considerably more cost-effective. They boast a fast set-up time, and you can use controlled software to operate them, meaning they can continue to work outside of normal operating hours.

Disadvantages of water jet cutting

Increased cutting times

One of the main drawbacks of water jet cutting is that it does take a little bit longer than other methods of cutting. This means that you may experience less output.

Initial costs

CNC machining does not come cheap, and you may find the initial cost of additional abrasive materials such as granite to be beyond your budget.

Risk of orifice failure

Poor quality waterjet orifices have a tendency to break down, which can result in lost time and a reduction in productivity. That being said, you can easily find spare parts for water jet cutters online, including a replacement cutting head.

Do you need help choosing a water jet cutting machine for your business? You can contact us here and speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable team who will be more than happy to guide you through the purchasing process.

Are you wondering if you can use a plasma cutter without an air compressor? If yes, you are far from alone. Although most plasma cutting machines come with an air compressor, you can find some units that come without this useful component. This can be confusing for beginners, especially, and might have you questioning, does that mean that we don’t need one? Let’s take a closer look.

What are the components of a plasma cutter?

If you have not seen a plasma cutter up close and personal before, then it can be difficult to understand how they are set up. There are several vital components that all plasma cutting machines need to have in order to function properly.

These are:

How is an air compressor used in plasma cutting?

Plasma cutting uses a combination of heated gas and electricity to cut through various metals such as stainless steel and aluminium, but where does compressed air come into play?

It’s simple really. The reason why people use plasma cutters is that they are able to harness high-intensity heat for a superior cut quality. However, it is through the use of an air compressor that this heat is directed to the metal, allowing for a more precise cut.

The amount of air pressure that you need when using a plasma cutter is about 4-8 SCFM delivered at 90-120 psi. This covers units that are intended for up to 3/8 inches thick steel to large units that can handle 7/8 inch steel.

Ideally, you should choose an air compressor with a CFM rating that is 1.5 to 2 times higher than your plasma cutter.

Should you invest in an air compressor?

There are multiple reasons why you should invest in an air compressor to use alongside your plasma torch, with one of the most notable ones being you can enjoy a more precise and cleaner cut. In fact, if you want to make the exact same cut time and time again, then an air compressor is a definite must.

Another benefit of using compressed air is that you can find high-performing plasma cutting machines that have built-in air compressors. Not only does this allow for portability but it also means you will only have one power cord which can make the laser cutting experience easier.

Whether you think that a portable air compressor and plasma cutter combo is the right choice for your cutting needs or you are unsure still, contact us here and let us find the perfect plasma cutting machine for you.

Are there any downsides to using an air compressor?

If you are wondering why some people choose not to use one of these pneumatic tools, then you should know that it predominantly comes down to cost. Whether you choose to purchase a separate air compressor or you opt for a built-in model, you are still going to have to spend a little bit more money.

Another factor that puts some people off buying built-in air compressors is that these rely on a fixed air pressure, which means that any leaks will have a serious impact on your ability to cut.

All of the above being said, a built-in air compressor can transform your cut quality and provide a level of flexibility that you won’t get from buying a separate unit.  

Favoured by automotive repair shops, fabrication shops, industrial construction sites and salvage operations due to their high speeds and precision cuts, plasma cutters can be used to cut through a wide range of materials, including stainless steel, brass, aluminium, and copper.

However, can they cut through very thick material? This is a typical question that many people have asked in the past before buying their plasma cutter, and it is sensible to do so. Let’s take a closer look below.

How does a plasma cutting machine work?

Our high-end plasma cutting machines use compressed air and special gas to produce a plasma reaction that can cut through metals such as aluminium and stainless steel. In fact, any conductive metal is well suited for using a plasma cutter, including:

That being said, the thicker a metal is, the more hazardous it can be. You should expect sparks to be produced, so you need to ensure you are sticking to your machine’s cutting capacity and that you are taking all the necessary safety precautions.

How thick can a plasma cutter cut?

Plasma cutters provide an effective way to cut both thin and thick materials. However, depending on the machine that you choose, they do have their limitations.

Typically, a handheld plasma torch can cut up to 38mm (1.5 inches) thick steel plate. Whereas, if you need something a bit more powerful, an industrial computer-controller torch can cut steel up to 150mm (6 inches) thick.  

You also need to consider the type of metal that you are cutting. For example, if you are cutting a piece of mild steel, you will experience faster and thicker cuts than with alloys.

How to choose a plasma cutter

Many plasma cutting power sources are rated on both their cutting ability and their amperage. If you want to mostly cut ¼ inch thick materials, you should opt for a low amperage plasma cutter. However, if you regularly cut metals that are around ½ inch thick, then you will need to seek out a higher amperage unit.

If you choose a plasma cutter that operates at the limit of its cutting capacity, both your cutting speed and the quality of your cuts will be affected.

Each one of our plasma cutting units has an optimal range of cutting thickness so that you can easily match the machine to your needs.

Carry out Tests to Help you Decide

If you are not sure which plasma cutter to choose, it can be a good idea to test cuts on a number of different machines, travelling at the same rate of speed on the same thickness of material so that you can see which one offers the highest quality of cut.

You should also look for a machine that provides a quick transfer from pilot arc to cutting arc at a large transfer height, as this will ensure you have better support when cutting.

If you are still not entirely sure whether a plasma cutter is the right choice for your cutting needs, or you need help on choosing the right plasma cutting machine, contact us here and our knowledgeable team will do their best to answer your questions.

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