Water and Abrasive Jet Cutting
Kirkland Sales offers wide variety of waterjet cutting for the Dallas area and beyond. Our cutting machines can perform precision work on many different kinds of materials. We are constantly working to refine and improve the techniques, technologies and equipment we use to supply our small part of our customers’ greater product lines.
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What makes our waterjet team different?
Brief history of waterjet cutting
The technology behind and leading to modern waterjet cutting was based in the injection molding of plastics. The first successful injection molding systems were displayed at the Chicago World’s fair in 1933.
From that time, that industry developed, and equipment was eventually designed and manufactured by The McCartney Manufacturing Company in Baxter Spring’s Kansas.
In the mid 1960’s Joe McCartney began toying with the idea of compressing water in one of the Polyethylene injection pumps. After some refinement of the still crude process, an application was found in 1968 for a process in the Alton Boxboard Company’s line of products, that being a “cam driven” follower device using a waterjet stream to cut the legs for the line of corrugated furniture the Alton produced.
In 1971, the first computer controlled contour cutting waterjet machine was invented and designed in Richardson Texas by Bob Higgins at CAMSCO Inc. This machine was sold to cut the insole material to Converse in Lumberton, Georgia for the famous “Chuck Taylor” basketball shoes.
In 1986, TECHNICUT was formed as the first contract cutting in the world with waterjet, laser and abrasive waterjet cutting machines. In 2004 TECHNICUT’ s cutting group became the Precision Products Group at Kirkland Sales, Inc., and though the company has evolved to do many tasks, production contract cutting is still the heart of the division’s business.
How a waterjet machine works
For the type of parts required for our contract customers, and based on the specific material characteristics and production requirements, we have purpose built and use, many, 2 1/2-axis, plotter type positioning systems to create the various cut requirements in resilient materials or hard goods using the in-house developed abrasive waterjet cutting technology.
Cutting is accomplished by the creation of a very high velocity stream of water passing through a plate orifice of diamond or sapphire material, controlled on and off by an extreme pressure valve carried on the tool carrier of a precision positioning system.
The velocity of the jet stream is a function of the intensifier pump pressure. The normal water jet cutting pressure of 50,000 PSI launches a water jet at 2,900 Ft /sec. This is approximately the same velocity and pressure as a bullet fired from a 30.06 rifle.
While the pressure at impact is the same as the pump pressure, the downward force is relatively quite small. At 50,000 PSI with a .009 inch diameter orifice, the force that is applied to the workpiece is a little over 3 pounds, that is, total pressure divided by total area.
The momentum of the water hits a portion of the material to be cut and tries to accelerate it to the stream’s velocity. The resulting shear between the particle being moved and the adjacent static particle, fails the joint and displaces the accelerating particle.
The maximum shear is a function of the properties of the material being cut and the properties of the water. The practical upper limit of material strength which can be cut in this fashion is a material whose tensile strength is about 5% of the bulk modulus of the water, or about 10,000 PSI. This includes most rubber and elastomers. Other materials which are commonly cut are stabilized fabric, other foams and natural skins.