Water Jet Machining (WJM) is an advanced, non-traditional machining process in which a water jet at very high pressure is used to cut materials to make a 3D part. It is also known as Water Jet Cutting. It can be used to cut softer materials such as plastics, rubber or wood and to cut harder materials such as metals and granite, an abrasive material is mixed with water with very high velocity pressure.
Water Jet Machining is a process used for performing different machining operations such as drilling, cutting, wire striping, deburring, etc. It is also applied in the field of surface engineering such as surface treatment, cleaning, finishing, etc.
Working Principle of Water Jet Machining (WJM):
Water Jet Machining based on the principle of water erosion. When a high velocity jet with high pressure strikes on the surface of material, the removal of material takes place.
The pure water jet is used for machining of softer materials. To cut harder materials or metals, a mixture of abrasive particles with water is used for machining and it is also called as Abrasive Water Jet Machining.
Also Read: Electro Discharge Machining (EDM)
Main Parts of Water Jet Machining:
The various parts of water jet machining are as follows,
Water Reservoir: Water reservoir is used to store as a jet for machining.
Hydraulic Pump: The pump will take water from the reservoir and transfer to the intensifier. The pump is used to create pressure in water from 1500 to 4000 bars.
Intensifier: Intensifiers are used to increase the water jet pressure and produced high pressure water jet. The intensifier is connected to accumulator.
Accumulator: Water is temporarily stored in an accumulator. Various control valves are connected to accumulator. It supplies the water jet when high pressure energy is required and eliminates pressure fluctuations in machining process
Control Valves: The control valves are used to control the amount of water pressure being passed. It is used to regulate the flow of water jet.
Flow Regulator: The flow regulator is used to regulate the flow of water that reaches the control valves.
Nozzle: It is a device which is used to convert the pressure energy into kinetic energy in water jet machining process. A nozzle converts the pressure of water jet into high velocity beam f water jet.
Drain and Catcher System: After the machining process, the debris and machined particles from water s separated with the help of drain and catcher system. It is used to remove the unwanted material particles from the water.
Materials Machining in Water Jet Machining:
Water Jet Machining is used for machining softer materials such as, Plastic, Glass, Rubber, Foam, Composites, etc.
Abrasive Water Jet Machining (AWJM) is used for machining harder materials such as, Steels, Aluminum. Caste Iron, Concrete, Stones, Granite, Metal Alloys, Ceramics, Textiles, etc.
Advantages of Water Jet Machining:
Here are some of the advantages of water jet machining are as follows,
- The water used in this machining process is non-toxic, non-flammable, cheap and easily available.
- This machining process does not required coolant.
- There is no contact between tool and workpiece in this machining process.
- An excellent surface finishing can be achieved by using this machining process.
- It is possible to produced complex sizes and shapes by using this machining process.
- It is less expensive as compared to other non-traditional machining processes.
- This machining process has low operating and maintenance cost because of no moving parts.
- It is environmentally friendly and does not create any pollution.
Disadvantages of Water Jet Machining:
Here are some of the disadvantages of water jet machining are as follows,
- The material with high thickness can not cut by using this machining process.
- The initial cost and investment of water jet machining is high.
- This machining process takes much time for machining as compared to other non-traditional machining processes.
- This machining process has low material removal rate.
- It only used for machining softer materials, for harder materials, a mixture of abrasive with water is used but only for limited thickness.
Applications of Water Jet Machining:
Water Jet Machining is widely used for different applications in various industry. Here are some of the applications of water jet machining are as follows,
- Water Jet Machining is used in various industries like mining, automotive and aerospace.
- This machining process is used for drilling and cutting operations.
- Water Jet Machining is used for engine components manufacturing.
- This machining process is used for machining thick steel sheets and aluminum sheets.
- Abrasive Water Jet Machining can also be used to perform drilling, turning, reaming and pocket milling.
- It is also used for paint removal, cleaning, surgery and remove residual stress.