In the manufacture of stainless steel products, there are many methods that technicians use to cut and shape steel. One of these methods is waterjet cutting. At Alliant Metals, we use a waterjet to manufacture and precisely cut custom parts and products. If you’re wondering how we can use water to cut stainless steel, you’ve come to the right place.
Fantastic as it sounds, if water moves fast enough it can cut through hard materials. Water fires through a jewel nozzle, usually diamond or ruby, at speeds up to 90 miles per hour. The hole in the jewel nozzle is tiny, which controls the spray for precise cuts. To cut through very hard materials, such as stainless steel, abrasive garnet sand is drawn into the stream of water. The abrasive particles effectively create a fast-acting erosion process to eat away at the metal wherever the jet is aimed. An abrasive waterjet can cut through materials up to six inches thick.
One of the many advantages of waterjet cutting is that it has no “heat-affected zone,” or HAZ. The abrasive sand hitting the metal at high speed does not heat up the material because it is within a stream of water. Other cutting methods produce heat, which can change the structure of the steel. Because there is no HAZ with waterjet cutting, it does not harm or change the metal’s intrinsic properties. When manufacturing stainless steel products it is important to preserve the steel’s structural integrity.
Waterjet cutting is also one of the most precise methods for producing intricate designs in metal. Specialized software called AutoCAD follows an image scanned from various file formats. The nozzle can render intricate designs by following the image stored in the AutoCAD system. Various machining heads are used to create the exact cuts the design requires.
Waterjet cutting is also an environmentally friendly process. The wastewater from the process is clean enough to filter and disposed of down a drain. The garnet abrasive is also non-toxic, so technicians can recycle it and use it again.
At Alliant Metals, we use waterjet cutting to make stainless steel products and parts across multiple industries. If you require precise stainless steel products, contact our team. They are ready to consult on the best methods for your job and industry.