Waterjet cutting machines are impressive tools that can be used for a wide range of purposes. The range of materials they are capable of cutting through is expansive – ranging from metals to stone, plastics, composites, and glass, among many more.

What’s more, they provide a neat cut that creates minimal waste. This arguably makes it more environmentally friendly than other types of cutting tools. 

If you are thinking of using a waterjet cutter, it is useful to learn more about this innovative tool before you purchase one. This will make it easier to find out how it works, why it can do what it does, and how it might benefit your specific requirements.

Here are five facts about waterjet cutting machines you might not know:

They can cut through most materials

One of the most impressive qualities of a waterjet cutter is its ability to slice through many different materials with relative ease. 

The reason why this is so impressive is that other types of cutting techniques are only useful for specific materials. If a woodcutter was to be used on stone, for example, the results would be distinctly underwhelming. 

So, a waterjet cutter gives you useful flexibility if you have access to one.

The materials a waterjet cutting tool can be used on include wood, stone, ceramics, metals, plastics, composites, and glass, among others.

You might be surprised by the power of water jet cutters when compared with other types of cutters – especially given it uses pressurized water to cut materials, but it demonstrates the power and reliability of a natural element.

Therefore, if you need a wide range of materials cutting, waterjet cutting machines are your best bet.

It does not damage the item being cut

Waterjet cutters are famed for their neat and accurate cuts. This is because most cutting methods use a combination of force or heat to get the job done. 

The result is a damaged cutting edge, burn marks, abrasions, or weakened material.

Because waterjet cutters use either an abrasive or pure water to cut at high speed, the results are almost immaculate. 

Abrasive waterjets rely on sand

If you didn’t think waterjet cutting machines were impressive by now, then you will be amazed by the fact that an abrasive water jet uses sand to cut hard materials. 

These cutters essentially combine garnet with water in the cutting head and mixing chamber to shoot a highly effective cutting stream out of the waterjet nozzle at high speed.

This is why abrasive waterjet cutting is so good at cutting dense materials like stone. 

It can be used to cut food

Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Waterjet cutters really can cut through certain foods.

It might sound mad, but the logic is sound. Waterjets are completely sterile, highly accurate, and delicate cutters, making them perfect for food production.

There are different types of waterjet cutters

As mentioned above, there are different types of waterjet cutters - pure water and abrasive. 

The pure waterjet has a fast cutting speed and is usually used on lighter materials, whereas the abrasive cutter is used to cut metal and other hard materials.

These different cutting processes mean you can choose the cutter which fits your requirements the best. If you want to find out more about waterjet cutters, contact us here.

Waterjet cutting machines are incredibly useful tools because they can easily cut through an incredible range of materials. Many cutters or drills have a difficult time cutting through dense materials like concrete or metals, but waterjets take it in their stride.

This is why they are regarded so highly in a variety of industries – from aerospace to healthcare, automotive to construction. wwwwww

However, it is important to note that waterjet cutters aren’t invincible cutting machines that can be used on everything. Every tool has its limits, and you need to know exactly which materials it can cut, at what width, and with what quality.

Not only will this give you a clearer idea of whether it is the right type of cutter for you, but you will be able to get the most out of your waterjet cutter if you already have one.

For example, although waterjet cutters can theoretically slice through up to 12 inches of the following materials, it is not practical in everyday use. This is because you no longer get a clean cut and the cutting time becomes longer than is desirable.

Instead, it is better to stick to cutting depths of three inches.

In no particular order, these materials can be cut with a waterjet cutting machine:

Metals

First off we have metals, which waterjet cutting machines have the ability to cut through with ease, in a way that other cutting tools simply can’t match.

There are several reasons why metal is usually difficult to cut accurately. There are issues with stress and thermal distortion which results in a jagged, uneven cut. 

However, because waterjet machines use a cold-cutting method, the metal is not burnt or distorted by the heat involved. Not only does this provide a neat finish to the cut, but there is less waste afterward.

This even includes hardened tool steel and copper materials.

Glass

Another material that is often associated with water jet cutting is glass. Usually, glass is a time-consuming and resource-heavy material to cut, because of the number of tooling alterations required. 

Not so with waterjet cutting machines, which can accurately cut glass and provide the delicacy required, thanks to their unique cutting process. However, tempered glasses cannot be cut with a waterjet tool.

Composites

Composites - such as carbon fiber - are inherently brittle when cut. This is because a lot of the time they are thin materials. Other cutters cause burn marks and other blemishes, but when they’re cut with a waterjet they are preserved immaculately. 

Plastics 

Waterjet cutters are great for cutting plastic and reinforced plastics because they provide a neat cut without emitting any hazardous fumes, as there is no heat-affected zone involved. 

Stone

Waterjet machines can also cut stone. This is because these cutters don’t require any meaningful force to be pressed down on the stone, which is where other, more established cutting methods fail.

If you would like to find out more about waterjet cutters, contact us here.

Abrasive waterjet cutting is an extremely powerful cutter primarily used for tough materials such as stainless steel. In fact, it cuts almost any material, which makes it an extremely useful tool.

However, you are probably wondering exactly how it works and how quick abrasive waterjet cutting is. Not only is understanding how an abrasive waterjet cutter works important for deriving the highest level of performance from it, but it also helps you understand whether it is the best cutter for your requirements.

After all, it isn’t the only cutter on the market - with pure water jets another popular choice. Therefore, finding out more about the speed and efficiency of abrasive cutters is extremely useful.

This is what you need to know:

What is an abrasive waterjet cutter?

An abrasive water jet works by placing an abrasive material in the mixing chamber, which creates high-pressure water. This cutting method is valuable because it operates at a comparatively high speed compared to other waterjet cutting machines like pure water variants.

High-pressure water is fed into the cutting head through stainless steel piping to break the cutting process into more detail. The water is then concentrated into a thin stream thanks to a diamond, ruby, or sapphire orifice. In the mixing chamber, the cutting tool adds abrasives to the water. This water - mixed with an abrasive particle - then shoots out the cutting head, providing an incredibly powerful cutting method.

This makes it suitable for a wide variety of cutting applications. If you would like to find out more, contact us.

Abrasive Waterjets Versus Rivals

Of course, abrasive cutters are not the only form of waterjet cutting machine. Another form of water jet cutting is the pure water variant, which is typically used for softer materials. There is often an argument about abrasive vs. pure water in cutting circles, but they serve different purposes.

While abrasive cutters can be seen as the jackhammers of the cutting world, pure water jets are the scalpel. They are used for precision cutting on softer materials and are extremely useful. It just depends on the cutting techniques required.

Use Cases of Abrasive Waterjet Cutters

Abrasive waterjet cutters are typically used to cut through tough materials - such as metal, wood, stone, plastics, ceramics, and rubber. Given that the range of potential use cases includes cutting through bullet-proof glass or uneven surfaces, there are a huge number of industries that use them.

This includes the aerospace industry, the military, and countless factory-based sectors.

One of the many benefits of using an abrasive waterjet cutter is that it is incredibly quick and efficient, despite the thickness of the materials it cuts through.

However, it is also worth noting that pure water jets have their benefits too. They produce extremely little heat or waste and are essentially a green technology (which is great if you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint). They are highly accurate and can be used even in tight or difficult-to-access spaces

If you are thinking of buying a water jet cutter, or you are struggling to get the best out of it, then you are probably wondering how the water itself can affect the performance of the jet.

In truth, the quality, quantity, and pressure of the water can all massively affect the efficiency of your waterjet cutter. Still, there is one other aspect that is worth considering - water flow.

Water flow is vital to get right when using a waterjet cutter because the higher the flow, the more water is being propelled at whatever you are trying to cut. It also increases the pressure, which is imperative for a powerful cut.

Therefore, you must have decent water flow if you want to get the most out of your waterjet cutter and ensure a high cutting speed.

Of course, the amount of water flowing through the nozzle will depend on the type of water jet you are using. A conventional pure water jet has a far more concentrated flow of water than an abrasive jet, which means they have varying performance potential.

However, both water and abrasive jets require a strong water flow to be effective.

This is what you need to know about the importance of water flow for running a waterjet cutter

How Does Water Flow Affect Cutting Speed?

The flow of water feeding into the water jet can significantly influence the water jet cutter's performance. This is for the obvious reason that the more water pumped into the jet, the faster and stronger the jet will be.

Of course, the overall performance of the jet and the types of material it can cut depends entirely on which waterjet cutting machines you use and their control systems.

A pure waterjet is the conventional choice and varies from the other primary type of water jet cutting - the abrasive waterjet. A pure water jet has no nozzle or mixing chamber, which means the water flow exits the cutter as a very thin stream. The result is a precise cut that is best used on soft or delicate materials - much like laser cutting.

However, with abrasive cuts, special pressure pumps project the water at high pressure.

The result is a cutter that performs at the speed of sound and can cut through tough materials like stainless steel or plastic.

To find out more, contact us.

How Does Water Pressure Affect Cutting Speed?

Put simply, the only way to make water jets cut faster is to increase the water pressure. In turn, this is done by increasing the water flow.

Of course, water and abrasive cutters use varying levels of water pressure. An abrasive variant's cutting process has a higher water pressure because it uses a garnet abrasive to sharpen the jet stream.

The higher pressure from the cutting head makes cutting with water far more powerful and allows you to cut hard materials.

Oxy-fuel cutting is a powerful thermal cutting process used to cut ferrous metals. This highly popular metal-cutting method uses oxygen and fuel gases (such as propane, acetylene, propylene, MAPP, and natural gas) to cut through materials.
Also called ‘plasma cutting’, oxy fuelled cutting is one of the most widely used industrial thermal cutting processes. It can cut materials with thicknesses from 0.5 mm to 250 mm, and the cutting equipment is relatively low cost, available in both manual and mechanised form.

How Does Oxy Fuelled Cutting Work?

The cutting process is fairly simple. A mix of oxygen and the chosen fuel gas is used to preheat the metal to its ‘ignition temperature’ but well below its melting point. The ignition temperature can differ depending on the kind of metal; for example, steel is 700°C to 900°C.
Next, a jet of pure oxygen is applied into the preheated area, which sets off a strong exothermic chemical reaction between the oxygen and the metal, forming by-products consisting of iron oxide or slag. The cutting oxygen blows away the slag enabling the oxygen jet to penetrate through the material and continue to cut through it.

Metals You Can Cut with Oxy-Fuel Cutting

Electrically conductive ferrous metals are typically used in the oxy-fuel process. Some examples are:
• Low carbon steel
• Mild steel
• Medium carbon steel
• Hardened low carbon steel
• Iron
• Titanium
When cutting steel, it’s important to note that only certain types of steel can be cut. For example, carbon steel or mild steel ranging from a low carbon content (less than 0.3% carbon) to a medium carbon content (0.3 to 0.6% carbon) work well with oxy-fuel cutting – but others do not.

Metals You Can’t Cut with the Oxy-Fuel Cutting Method

Generally, non-ferrous metals and any corrosion-resistant metals are not suitable for oxy-fuel cutting. This is because of how the oxy-fuelled cutting process works; it oxidises the heated metal before blasting that oxidised metal away with pure oxygen, therefore making a cut as the gas flows through the material. As such, if the metal can’t oxidise (which means rusting), it cannot be cut using oxy-fuelled cutting.


Metals unsuited for oxy-fuelled cutting include:

Basic Requirements for Oxy-Fuel Cutting:

Get in Touch Today

We at KERF are industry experts in oxy-fuel, plasma cutting and waterjet cutting technology, processes and materials.
If you need assistance with equipment or materials purchase, have questions, or are here for our world-class after-sales support, please don’t hesitate to contact us today – our knowledgeable and friendly team is just a phone call or email away.

Oxy-fuel cutting is a common industrial process for cutting various materials – more specifically, ferrous metals, such as low-carbon steel, medium-carbon steel, mild steel, iron and titanium. However, the process cannot cut non-ferrous metals that don’t rust, such as stainless steel. Therefore, when cutting steel via the oxy-fuel method, only carbon steel or mild steel with low carbon to medium carbon content will work.

How Does Oxy Fuel Cutting Work?

High-Quality Torch Means Purer Oxygen and Cleaner Cuts

Of course, a high-quality cutting torch is important – that’s a given. However, a cheaper, low-quality torch can affect many variables in the oxy fuel cutting process. The oxygen flow’s purity determines the cutting speed, which can make all the difference between a clean, quality cut and a messy, uneven one – the latter possibly resulting from oxygen flow air entrainment. Overall, oxygen purity must be at least 99.5% - a mere 1% reduction in purity can reduce cutting speed by 25% and might even increase gas consumption by up to 25%.

Use Acetylene Torch Tips

Look at tip charts, and acetylene torch tips show as the most common type of cutting tool in oxy fuel welding and oxy fuel cutting processes – though propane tips are used as well. The main difference between acetylene propane and torch tips is that the propane variant releases less heat and is thus less efficient at cutting materials. On the other hand, an acetylene torch tip releases much more heat; therefore, it’s far better for cutting.

Use Equal Pressure Torches

Equal-pressure torches (also known as balanced-pressure torches) are also a great option. They keep the oxygen and fuel gas pressure equal. Generally, operating pressures vary and depend on the cutting tip type. However, most industrial oxy-fuel cutting tips have an equal-pressure design; this is excellent for having complete control over the acetylene-to-oxygen ratio and important for maintaining a highly carburising or oxidising flame.
Furthermore, the mixing chamber’s design means equal pressure torches have a higher flow rating. Working well with many gas types, such as propylene acetylene, propane, natural gas, and MAPP, the equal pressure torch is more versatile and even safer than the injector torch; because equal gas pressures are applied, flashback is less likely to occur.

Oxygen First, Fuel Second

When finished, shut off the torch oxygen valve first and then close the torch fuel valve. This simple technique checks both valves for leaks every time the torch is turned off. A snap or a pop sound signals a leaking oxygen valve, while a small flame at the tip’s end indicates a fuel gas leak.

Check O-Rings Regularly (No Oil or Grease-Based Lubricants)

While this tip may seem obvious, so many people – both professionals and hobby oxy-fuel cutters and welders – don’t check O-rings regularly enough. They’re such a small piece of gear, and, as such, they’re often left forgotten – but that’s a huge mistake.
Overall, two types of O-rings for welding and cutting attachments exist: O-ring small and O-ring large. Whatever the type, inspect their state and change any showing signs of wear and tear. Naturally, changing O-rings, cutting nozzles, and welding attachments can be challenging and fidgety; however, lightly smearing special lubricants on the sealing rings and surfaces in the cutting attachment’s connection head can ease the process.
Additionally, note that oil or grease must never be used because many compressed gases like oxygen are highly oxidising and can ignite spontaneously when in contact with oil and grease – even without an ignition source. As a result, lubricants used in oxygen and gas fittings must meet specific requirements and be approved by BAM (German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing). These specially designed lubricants are inert, boast oxidation stability and are non-inflammable.

Get in Touch with Our Professional Team

As leading experts in oxy-fuel, plasma cutting and waterjet cutting technology, processes and materials, we at KERF are your one-stop spot for all matters in this sector.
Whether you’d like advice on materials and equipment, have questions about the industry, or are here to avail our top-tier after-sales support service, contact us today for assistance. Our knowledgeable and friendly team awaits at the end of a phone call or email and will be delighted to speak with you.

Oxy-fuel can be immensely useful for cutting and welding, but it is important to keep in mind that they are serious pieces of equipment that can be dangerous if you misuse them. This is why it is vital that you learn more about the various safety procedures you need to abide by to stay out of trouble when using an oxy-fuel cutter. 

Not only this, but once you are abreast of the necessary safety procedures, you can actually work faster. This is because you won’t be distracted by the fear of injury or calamity due to a lack of knowledge or training. Instead, you can confidently use the oxy-fuel cutter while giving it the respect it deserves. 

You should start by understanding the main hazards caused by oxy-fuel cutters and the fire safety tips that can keep you and those around you safe from injury if the worst happens.

Here is everything you need to know about oxy-fuel welding and cutting safety procedures:

What are the primary hazards of oxy-fuel welding and cutting?

When you are first learning about oxy-fuel safety procedures, knowing where to begin can be tricky. These are complicated machines that can be intimidating if you don’t know how to treat them correctly, so it is best to start in the most logical place - with the most common hazards of oxy-fuel welding and cutting.

Firstly, there is the risk of fire - which is typically caused by sparks, heat, the hot metal as you cut or weld, or contact with the flame itself.

This is why it is necessary to wear fireproof clothing - such as gloves, an overall or apron, and a mask. While it is unlikely that you will come into direct contact with the flame, for instance, you should be sure to stand as far back from the process as possible. This will massively reduce the chances of burns or other serious injuries.

There is also the chance of ignition when there are backfires, gas leaks, or flashbacks from the cutter, as well as toxic fumes caused by the cutting or welding process. To prevent the latter, make sure you use a ventilated area.

If the torch backfires, turn off the oxygen and acetylene cylinder valves and the torch valves. A flashback arrestor can also help prevent flames from reaching the regulator.

It would be best if you also were wary of what you are cutting or welding. Metals that once contained toxic or combustible materials, as well as oils and grease, should be treated with the utmost caution and cleaned beforehand. 

Lastly, while oxy-fuel cutters are easy to transport, that doesn’t mean they are light, so be careful when carrying oxygen cylinders and acetylene cylinders between two locations.

How to prevent fire hazards

Fire presents arguably the most pertinent hazard when using fuel gas cutters. The potent combination of oxygen and fuel makes for an effective cutter, but it can be dangerous if you are negligent with it.

To help reduce the chances of fire-related injury or damage, you should be sure to weld and cut in a safe location that is equipped for high levels of heat. This includes removing any potentially combustible materials which could present a hazard - such as wood, paper, textiles, plastics, or certain liquids. 

It may also mean checking that particular walls or surfaces won’t melt or combust when you light the torch.

If you can’t move these objects or materials, then you should ensure that they are covered or guarded against the exposed flame as much as possible - or move the location altogether. 

It is also a good idea to start purging the hoses before and after using a cutter to prevent any flammable or explosive gas mixtures from emanating from the torch and to stay vigilant of fire for a 30 minute period afterwards.

Oxy-fuel cutting is cutting mild steel using oxygen and fuel gas. It is a precise and popular method used by many welders. Like any metal-cutting process, though, it comes with risks – ones that every welder should know.

The Hazards

Oxy-fuel cutting can be dangerous, especially if the equipment is faulty or improperly used. Here are some of the biggest risks:

1: Illness from Toxic Fumes

The gases emitted during the process, such as nitrous gases, can cause illness in the worker. They might feel light-headed, dizzy, and even pass out.

2: Eye Injury

If exposed for too long, the worker can suffer from thermal and UV eye burns. Over time, it can affect cataracts and cause serious harm.

3: Asphyxiation

When working in a confined space, the worker can lose consciousness from asphyxiation.

4: Sparks and Flames

During the oxy-fuel cutting process, you might see sparks and flames. Due to the heat, improper use may lead to a dire. Improper storage can also lead to combustion.

5: Heat Stroke

Oxy-fuel cutting is hot, and that can lead to heat stroke in the worker. That usually happens after a prolonged period of oxy-fuel cutting.

How to Stay Safe with Oxy-Fuel Cutting

Now that you know the dangers of oxy-fuel cutting, it’s time to learn how to stay protected throughout the process.

Check the Equipment Regularly

One of the main reasons things go wrong with oxy-fuel cutting is machinery and equipment are not being stored or maintained correctly. Routinely check the oxygen valve, cylinder valves, adjusting screw, left-hand thread, and anything else you will use. You should also clear the work area and make sure it is fit for the work. By doing this, you ensure the work goes smoothly, from the gas flow rate to the actual cutting.

Label Items Correctly

If any items, such as the oxygen cylinders, are not labelled – label them as soon as possible. Whether you or someone else uses them, it’s crucial that the correct gas/liquid/fuel gets used. Don’t rely on memory! You should also colour code the hoses.

Acquire a Hot Work Permit

A hot work permit helps ensure that the work is safe enough. For it to be acquired, the atmosphere must be tested to ensure it is not a hazard.

Store Gas Cylinders Upright

You must store all of your gas cylinders in an upright position. You should also ensure that oxygen and fuel are far apart, along with any other combustible material. For example, oxygen cylinders should be kept far away from acetylene cylinders. Otherwise, you risk explosion or fire.

Wear Protection

Make sure you and any other workers wear personal protective equipment when cutting. It will include a face shield and gloves.

Always Handle with Care

Whether attaching a regulator, using cutting torches, or letting out compressed air, you should always handle the machinery with care. Even if it’s your hundredth time cutting steel with oxy-fuel gas cutting, you should always stay alert.
Using oxy-fuel cutting systems safely is important to us here at Kerf Developments. If you have any questions about using our machines, do not hesitate to contact us.

There are several ways to cut through metal, and oxy-fuel cutting is one of them. Used by welders to cut through steel, it is a popular cutting method that is extremely popular - for plenty of reasons. If you’re interested to learn more about oxy-fuel cutting, here are ten interesting facts about it.

1: Oxy-fuel Cuts Through Mild Steel

The purpose of oxy-fuel cutting is to cut through mild steel. It’s an effective method for doing this due to its precision. When it comes to cutting through the steel, oxy-fuel can take on a range of projects, from small-scale and large-scale projects.

2: Oxy-fuel is Accurate

Due in part to the perfect cutting tip, oxy-fuel cutting is accurate. It can cut very small areas precisely, which is part of why it’s such a popular part of welding equipment.

3: Preheating is Required

Oxy-fuel uses oxygen to cut, but it doesn’t work without preheating. It takes an ignition temperature of around 960 degrees Celsius for the metal to be hot enough, which is reached with oxygen and a fuel gas (often acetylene). The ignition temp must always be lower than the melting point temp.

4: It Cuts Through Up to 24” Thick Metal

One of the best things about oxy-fuel cutting is how much metal it can cut through. To be specific – it can cut through up to a 24” thick wall, which is much thicker than plasma cutting. That is why you can take on such big projects with this method.

5: It Works Due to a Reaction Between Oxygen and Iron

When pure oxygen bursts through with high pressure, it creates an exothermic reaction that forms iron oxide. It changes the steel, making it so you can cut straight through as precisely as possible.

6: It Has Been Used for Decades

Oxy-fuel cutting isn’t some new metal-cutting method that has taken over the welding industry – it has been used for decades. It may have been tweaked here and there, but the process is still the same. It hasn’t changed much due to its effectiveness.

7: There Are Acetylene Alternatives

Oxy fuel processes require fuel. Oxy-acetylene welding is most common, but you can use an alternative fuel, such as propane or propylene. Propylene can even produce faster cuts and is considered a safer alternative.

8: It is Affordable

You might think oxy-fuel systems would have extortionate prices, but compared to other metal cutting systems, it is very affordable.

9: Protection is a Must

When you are using steel cutting oxygen, fuels, heat, iron, and all the other components that go into oxy-fuel cutting, protection is a must. Whether you’re turning the oxygen valve or using the oxy fuel cutting torch, you must wear proper protective gear. If you don’t, there are serious health and safety risks.

10: Oxy-fuel Cutting Machines Make it Easier

At Kerf Developments, our oxy-fuel cutting machines are state of the art, boasting excellent oxy fuel torches that precisely cut through your metal projects. With our machines, the oxy-fuel cutting process becomes much quicker and easier. If you’re interested in oxygen acetylene welding, our machines are for you. Contact us if you have any questions about our products.
At Kerf Developments, our oxy-fuel cutting machines are state of the art, boasting excellent oxy-fuel torches that precisely cut through your metal projects. With our machines, the oxy fuel cutting process becomes much quicker and easier.

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