Research Papers: Materials and Fabrication

Economic and Technical Efficiency of High Performance Abrasive Waterjet Cutting

[+] Author and Article Information
Axel Henning, H.-T. Liu, Carl Olsen

 OMAX Corporation, Kent, WA 98032

J. Pressure Vessel Technol 134(2), 021405 (Jan 17, 2012) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004800 History: Received February 21, 2011; Revised July 07, 2011; Published January 17, 2012; Online January 17, 2012

Abrasive waterjets have recently become a popular tool for mechanical machining. With its great advantages of geometric and material flexibility and its ability to cut hard-to-machine material, the technology is quickly spreading throughout many industries. With this process, near net-shape production becomes feasible, while significantly reducing the time necessary for secondary operations such as programming, clamping, or tool changing. This allows a significant optimization of the overall manufacturing process chain. In this paper, different approaches to increase the economic and technical efficiency of cutting with abrasive waterjets are analyzed. Experimental analysis of the speed of abrasive particles show that the kinetic power of the particles mainly depends on the hydraulic power of the waterjet. Merely increasing the pressure of the jet did not yield any improvement in its acceleration capability. To obtain the most effective cutting performance, a high level of hydraulic power through large nozzles should therefore be utilized. Additionally, recent advancements in cutting path control software have proven to significantly decreasing the total “time to product” and to increase the precision of the part. Those improvements in both software control and cutting power enable abrasive waterjets to become an integral part of many industrial manufacturing processes. This will widen the scope of possible applications of this innovative and promising technology.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Dual-disk anemometer (DDA)

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Figure 2

Disk with erosion marks from DDA

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Figure 3

Particle speed at different abrasive flow rates and water pressures (dO  = 250 μm, dF  = 760 μm)

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Figure 4

Experimentally determined abrasive speed ratio at different pressures (dO  = 250 μm, dF  = 760 μm)

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Figure 5

Quality 3 cutting speed and part cost of cutting at different abrasive feed rates (dO  = 355 μm, dF  = 760 μm)

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Figure 6

Separation cutting speed at different powers at 420 MPa: 12/30: dO  = 305 μm, dF  = 760 μm; 14/30: dO  = 356 μm, dF = 760 μm; 16/30: dO  = 406 μm, dF  = 760 μm; 20/42: dO  = 508 μm, dF  = 1066 μm

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Figure 7

Cutting consumable cost and performance at different power levels for 100 pieces of 2.5 m long separation cut of 25 mm thick aluminum

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Figure 8

Cutting at different quality levels with indication of percentage of separation speed

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Figure 9

Typical part in 1 in. thick aluminum shown on intelli-max ® Software (bright colors represent faster cutting speed at this point of the contour): (p = 379 MPa, dO  = 381 μm, dF  = 762 μm, mP  = 450 g/min)

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Figure 10

Cutting time at different quality levels: (p = 379 MPa, dO  = 508 μm, dF  = 1067 μm, mP  = 810 g/min)

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Figure 11

Cutting speed index at different quality levels

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Figure 12

Gears cut at different cutting conditions




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