Water jet cutting of non-metallic materials

Programming of water jet cutting machines for all materials with almaCAM Cut

Water jet cutting is one of the only cutting technologies that does not heat the material. It delivers high precision cutting of any kind of flat material, whether hard or soft. Accordingly many sub-contractors have water jet cutting machines to satisfy the great variety of requirements expressed by their customers. Some manufacturers also use water jet cutting for specific applications. Alma has supported development of this technology ever since it first emerged roughly thirty years ago. 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. To cut hard materials such as stone, marble, glass, metal, etc. the cutting power of the jet must be increased by adding an abrasive material.

Water jet cutting is recommended for all types of materials that cannot be cut using thermal processes. If no abrasive additive is used, water jet cutting is perfect for cutting thin sheets of soft materials such as plastic, foam, rubber, composites, wood, food products, etc.

Apart from the huge variety of materials that can be cut using this process, the main advantages of water jet cutting are that it is very clean,  extremely precise (to within a tenth of a millimeter, the parts are not deformed, and the cutting is very quick. So water jet cutting combines quality, productivity and flexibility.

Advantages of almaCAM Cut for water jet cutting of non-metallic materials

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