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Water Jet Cutting

OMAX WaterJet

Bahrs Die & Stamping uses water jet cutting functions internally but it is often an ideal choice for the production of prototype parts as well as small to medium and even large quantities of customer needs where initial die costs are a consideration. Water jet cutting is cost effective for low quantity projects, and has proven extremely beneficial in prototype manufacturing, even if the actual project is carried out by different means.

Waterjet cutting systems have similarities to other shape cutting systems utilizing computer controlled motion, post processing of tool paths, and multi-head configurations. Water jet machines can cut any known material including composite, laminates, plastics, rubbers, castings, forging, aluminum, stainless steels, hardened or tool steel, exotic alloys, heat sensitive materials, and synthetics. Many materials may release harmful fumes when cut using other methods.

Waterjet cutting is friendly to the environment. Normally, the process is clean and does not create grindings, chips, or hazardous gases. Cutting oils or emulsions are not needed.

In today’s world of high-priced raw material and limited resources, waterjet’s small kerf, or cut width, and part-on-part nesting capabilities optimizes material use, increasing cost-effectiveness.

The versatility of water jet machines make them ideal for cutting a wide range of material: rubber, plastic, stone, tile, composites and even pre-hardened material. Abrasive water jet cutting is especially cost-effective when shape cutting materials that require no heat affected zone, edge damage, slag, burnt edges, and no changes in the chemical or mechanical properties of the material.

Thermal processes such as torch, plasma, laser and even mechanical processes like shear, machining, and saw cutting can produce heat-affected zones with substantial heat distress to the mechanical properties of the material.

Waterjet cutting is well suited for metallurgical assessment and cross-section analysis. Mechanical properties are not affected and no stress is introduced unlike heat generating processes.

Many industries can benefit from the capabilities of Waterjet Cutting. WaterJet cutting allows for the production of Prototypes without the expense of tooling.

  • Aerospace: Precision Waterjet cutting services with WaterJet machines do not affect the material properties or the temper.
  • Transportation: Modes of transportation can include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. Some customers need automotive components for race cars, motorcycles, custom-made ambulances, and commercial trucks. WaterJet cutting can also be utilized for various customized components for helicopters, airplanes, and even underwater vehicles.
  • Government: Some of the best technology solutions come from Bahrs. Our Precision Waterjet systems can provide these solutions for other job shops, OEMs, fabricators, defense contractors, educational institutions, Fortune 500 companies as well as military sections, who need customized components or tools for maintaining legacy equipment.
  • Machine Shops: Water jet metal cutting of pre-hardened materials can eliminate secondary machining, heat-treating and stress relieving operations.
  • Medical: Many areas of the medical industry can benefit from Precision WaterJet cutting to develop items such as medical devices for patients, diagnosis, therapy, surgery, and prosthetics. Examples of applications in this industry include: blanking out surgical instruments from special steel alloys; cutting artificial limb components from carbon fiber composites; manufacturing carbon braces and orthopedic appliances, and other products.
  • Signage, Architectural and Decorative Purposes: High pressure Water Jet cutting allows us to reproduce logos and fonts with complete accuracy. Water jet cutting can transform creative designs into functional artwork or installations. We can water jet cut architectural trim, custom vinyl, stone, marble, signage, and other various materials. Waterjet cut materials end up in restaurants, retail space, commercial buildings, or even television production sets.
  • Metal Stamping and Tool and Die Shops: Bahrs WaterJet cutting services eliminate tooling costs and the time that it takes to process short run items.

What Materials Can a WaterJet Cut?

Composites

Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Plastics

Cutting this advanced material is a major growth area for us on our system. The material cuts very quickly and cleanly. Abrasive WaterJet systems are now widely used in applications from aerospace components to race cars, from NASA to NASCAR.

Cutting carbon fiber-reinforced plastics with our abrasive WaterJet has major advantages, such as no tool clogging or wear, no need to change tooling, no special considerations or restrictions due to heat buildup, no melting, no delamination, no fiber pullout and no hazardous fumes requiring costly air handling equipment.

Glass-Reinforced Plastics

Fiberglass can be cut quickly and cleanly using water jet cutting without hazardous dust or fumes by simply submerging the material during cutting.

Other-Reinforced Plastics

Any fiber-reinforced material, including Kevlar reinforced personnel armor, can be quickly and cleanly cut on a water jet without hazardous dust or fumes.

Metals

Carbon Steel

Bahrs Die & Stamping uses the WaterJet to cut all grades of steel. Water jet cutting produces a smooth cut on the edge without burn marks, cracking, excess burr, or other problems such as oil soaked chips typically associated with heat-based cutting or mechanical cutting. The lack of any heat-affected zones from the abrasive water jet means that the water jet cutting process does not change the heat treatment of the steel.

Stainless Steel

All grades of stainless steel can be cut easily on the water jet even those such as 304 that are difficult to machine with other processes without heat or distortion. A heat-affected zone can weaken the integrity of a part and lead to failure. The lack of any heat affected zone makes the water jet abrasive process particularly attractive to those producing food processing and handling equipment or the aerospace industry. Polished or reflective surfaces do not negatively affect the water jet process as they might with a laser cutting system.

Hardened Tool Steel

Using water jet cutting even tool steel can be cut in a fully hardened state without any change in material properties. Bahrs has found the water jet cutting system to be a valuable addition with near EDM precision at up to 10 times the speed.

Alloys of All Types

Difficult-to-machine special super alloys, such as Inconel® and Hastelloy® are easy to cut without heat or distortion on the water jet system.

Aluminum

Probably more aluminum is cut on water jet cutting systems than any other metal because it cuts so quickly and cleanly, without any thermal distortion. Unlike laser specialty shops, our water jet system will accurately cut thicker aluminum without thermal distortion.

Titanium

The WaterJet system is ideal for cutting titanium, a challenging material for conventional machining processes. With water jet cutting, Titanium can be cut quickly and accurately without any thermal distortion or surface embrittlement. Because titanium is so expensive, considerable cost savings can be obtained. By the close nesting of parts possible with the abrasive WaterJet process, waste material is reduced to a minimum.

Copper

All grades of copper cut quickly and cleanly on the WaterJet without thermal distortion. The reflectivity that may be an issue for lasers is not a problem for an abrasive WaterJet and there is no problem with “gumming” as might occur with conventional mechanical cutting systems.

Brass

Brass alloys cut quickly and cleanly with the abrasive WaterJet process, again with no thermal distortion.

Glass

Our WaterJet system is widely used for cutting a wide variety of glass products, from ultra-thin panels for smartphones to thick multi-layered bullet-proof panels for vehicles and buildings to panels for stained glass windows. Water jet cutting has the capability to perform a low-pressure pierce that automatically switches to high-pressure mode to continue the tool path. This means that with water jet cutting even the most brittle glass can easily be pierced to create a starting point and yet still be cut at maximum speed. The only glass that can’t be cut with a water jet cutting system is tempered glass that is designed to shatter into tiny pieces if cut or broken.

Stone

Our water jet system can cut stone products of all types. Applications include water jet cutting of granite countertops, quartz blanks for precision mirrors, inlaid marble flooring, decorative wall panels and stone sculptural pieces.

Concrete

Concrete cuts easily with the water jet abrasive cutting process and applications range from inlaid stepping-stones to architectural features and sculptural panels.

Ceramics

With some exceptions, most ceramic materials can be cut on our water jet abrasive system.

Rubber

With a water jet system, softer rubber and foam rubber cut easily using a water-only nozzle without abrasive. Fiber-reinforced rubber and very hard rubber can be cut cleanly using the water jet abrasive jet process.

LOWER COSTS PER PART

When it comes to low, medium or high-volume water jet cutting projects, WaterJet cutting systems are unmatched in quality and efficiency. That’s why Bahrs Die & Stamping uses WaterJet cutting in our Ohio operation.

Our WaterJet cutting equipment is capable of producing parts simultaneously without a reduction in cut precision or quality. WaterJet cutting can dramatically increase product output and reduce production time. Once we have your specifications, our WaterJet system can be set up for production in a matter of minutes. Also, because our WaterJet system is computer controlled, retooling time is eliminated between projects if you require the cutting of multiple shapes.

There are few limits to the possibilities opened up to your operation by our WaterJet cutting system; if you can envision it, we can create it. Our systems can create shapes out of almost any materials. From heavy steel, titanium, aluminum and other hard metals to soft materials like rubber and foam. Our knowledgeable engineers can help you realize your vision for WaterJet cut parts.

We have already served clients in the agriculture, aerospace, automotive manufacturing and many other industries. Put our WaterJet system to work for your low, medium or high-volume project.

If you have a question regarding the ability to cut your particular material, we can determine from a sample the suitability of your materials.

Potential Applications for Water Jet Cutting

  • 3D printer frames
  • Arcade game parts
  • Bicycle parts
  • Business cards
  • Computers
  • Control panels
  • Custom parts (miscellaneous)
  • Dashboard panels for airplanes
  • Dashboard panels for cars
  • Dashboard panels for boats
  • Desk nameplates
  • Drain covers
  • Electronic bus bars
  • Electronics enclosures
  • Robot frames
  • Fine art
  • Control panels
  • Fixtures for science equipment
  • Energy prototypes
  • Gears
  • Go karts
  • Ground straps
  • Guitar
  • Guitar parts
  • Guitar pick guards
  • Handles
  • Head gaskets
  • Heat sinks
  • Industrial controls
  • Industrial HVAC equipment
  • Kite parts
  • Knife blanks
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Machining fixtures
  • Medical Equipment
  • Motor mounting brackets
  • Motorcycle parts
  • Movie props
  • Clock parts
  • Oil pipeline parts
  • Painting brackets
  • Pet supplies
  • Replicas
  • Rope climbing devices
  • Signs
  • Sporting goods
  • Stencils
  • Racks
  • Trophies
  • Ventilation registers
  • Miscellaneous brackets
  • Wedding cake toppers
  • Wheels
  • Windmill parts