Water jet cutting of metal objects

Programming of water jet cutting machines for sheet metal with almaCAM Cut

Alma became interested in water jet cutting as soon as the first machines were produced at the end of the 1980s. Although the main advantage of this technology is its capacity to cut virtually any material, without heating it, there are many applications for sheet metal. One of the very first subcontractors to buy Alma for its water jet cutting machine used it to cut very thick shielding steel plates for military vehicles!  Regardless of the type of use and the parts that are cut, the almaCAM Cut software supports the specificities of water jet technology and is suitable for producing assemblies or cutting single parts.

The technological process

Water jet cutting is a cold cutting process using a water jet projected at very high speed, sometimes combined with an abrasive additive. The water pressure is first increased from 4,000 to 6,500 bars and then the pressurized water is projected through a very small diameter orifice (0.08 to 0.4 mm in diameter). Depending on the pressure, the speed of the water jet can reach 1,200 metres/second. The water particles projected against the material’s surface cut it cleanly and precisely. It is necessary to add an abrasive to cut hard materials, especially metals such as steel, aluminum, etc.

Water jet cutting is recommended for any material that cannot be cut using thermal processes, and for metal parts whose mechanical properties must not be affected by the cutting process.

The main advantages of water jet cutting are: very clean cutting preventing any burrs, high precision cutting to within a tenth of a millimeter, the parts are not deformed, high speed cutting and the capacity to cut very thick steel plates. The productivity and flexibility of water jet cutting make it possible to produce mechanical parts in small, medium or large series.

Advantages of almaCAM Cut for water jet cutting of metal

almaCAM Cut is the ideal system to program your water jet cutting machines, particularly for cutting along profiles. It supports all the technological specificities of water jet cutting (relieving, speed decrease/increase, drilling on lead-ins/outs, etc.). Whether you are managing large-scale nesting or cutting single parts, almaCAM Cut makes it easy to adjust cutting parameters to the wide variety of materials that can be cut using a water jet.

Significant material savings

  • Significant reduction of loss rates thanks to automatic nesting performance, since there is a choice of several available strategies.
  • Optimized use of remnant sheets or off-cuts of any shape.
  • Optimized nesting in case of common cut for small thicknesses
  • Multi-head nesting.

Minimized programming times

  • Automatic configuration of cutting parameters and lead-ins/outs.
  • Possibility to operate in full automatic mode (for nesting and tool path generation).

An approach that contributes to improving the quality of manufactured parts

  • Optimal adjustment of cutting conditions (speed, abrasive dosage) taking into account the various parameters (material, thickness, surface, perimeter, part geometry) and the required quality
  • Automatic speed decrease in corners or in advance of small radii to ensure the quality of the cutting results and avoid water jet diffraction.
  • Management of pre-drilling for large thicknesses.

Optimized time cycles

  • Optimized computation of the tool paths.
  • Automatic computation of tool paths with common cut.
  • Automatic or manual control of multi-head cutting.

Savings on consumables

  • Reduced drilling thanks to the addition of bridges between parts that enable continuous cutting.
  • Automatic control of cutting parameters (abrasive dosage, water pressure) according to the material to cut.
  • Automatic lead-ins/outs (position, type, length and angle) according to the material and thickness.

Ability to control complex or special machines

  • Control of combined machines equipped with drilling heads.
  • Management of marking and engraving.
  • The Sign module enables you to import and vectorize texts and images for cutting (logos, signs, decoration).
  • Ability to control programmable beveling heads while automatically preparing the program: pass sequence and offsets calculation, automatic generation of the reconfiguration loops and overall profile to take into account the maximum bulk of the part in the nesting, allocation of cutting conditions according to the angle.
  • Support of 5-axis water jet cutting machines (with almaCAM Space Cut)

Methods that enhance safety around the machine and facilitate handling in the workshop

  • Nesting of parts according to the support grid to prevent them falling under the table.
  • Creation of micro-junctions to prevent small parts falling under the table.

Water jet cutting machine brands we drive

  • Baykal
  • Bystronic
  • Calypso
  • Chiesa
  • CMS
  • Dardi
  • Eckert
  • Flow
  • Foracon
  • Issel
  • Knam
  • LDSA
  • Limoges Precision
  • Lyonstek
  • Mecanumeric
  • Microstep
  • Omax
  • Perndorfer
  • Resato Waterjet Technology
  • Ridder
  • Soitaab
  • TCI Cutting
  • Techtronix
  • Tecnocut
  • Teenking
  • Water Jet
  • Water Jet Sweden
  • Waterjet Corporation
  • Waterjet Germany
  • Waterjet Italiana
  • Weihong

Customer success stories