How to Choose the Ideal Abrasive Material for Water Jet Cutting

Abrasive water jet cutting technology is becoming the ideal option for manufacturing industries that deal with material cutting procedures. The technology is less invasive compared to other machine tool cutting techniques, and it does not involve the use of heat which can tamper with the final product. The outcome of the final product in water jet cutting greatly relies on the abrasive chosen for the machine. How do you determine the ideal one for your processes? Here are some of the factors that you should consider when making a choice.

Hardness of the material

To achieve optimum efficiency when using a water jet cutter, you should be able to balance between the machine's cutting speed and the durability of the nozzle. These factors depend on the hardness of the abrasive, and if you compromise on any of them, you will end up incurring extra costs. A soft abrasive may extend the life of the nozzle, but it won't be able to cut into the material fast enough; therefore, your production volume may decrease. On the other hand, a hard nozzle will increase cutting speeds, but it will wear the nozzle at a higher rate.

You need to obtain a material that's neither too hard nor too soft so that you can create a balance between cutting speed and extended durability of the water jet cutter's nozzle.

Weight of the abrasive

The density or weight of the abrasive material will determine the cutting force of the water jet cutter. When choosing an abrasive, you need to ensure that its density will allow the water stream to accelerate it to maximum speed for maximum cutting force. A very light abrasive won't be able to build up enough force to cut through the material effectively. On the other hand, a heavy material will reduce the ability of the water stream to push it to maximum velocity. This will generate less force and minimise the capability of the water jet cutter.

The secret when determining the right abrasive is to go for one with an average density. Compare various densities of abrasive materials and choose the standard density.

Size of the particles

The size of the abrasive's particles can affect the production time and the quality of surface finish attained on the cut materials. If you don't intend to apply any secondary finishing procedures, your abrasive should be small in size. Small particles give a finer and cleaner finish than large particles. However, if you intend to finish the metal afterwards, you can use large particles. Also, note that using too much abrasive or large particles can block the nozzles of the machine, and this can lead to delayed productivity.

Consider these factors when choosing the right abrasive for your water jet cutting procedures to ensure maximum productivity and increased time efficiency in production.