The micro abrasive waterjet is the ideal tool for ultimate flexibility in fine mechanics production with capability to cut, drill and also remove material three-dimensionally (turning and milling). It can be used in virtually all materials. The fact that it is effective also in combined materials is an important advantage in cases of materials having disparate material properties such as for example carbon fibre reinforced epoxy with mold-in titanium parts
Micro abrasive waterjets operate like traditional abrasive waterjets and share the general benefits of the process such as non-thermal cutting of virtually any material. However, this new technology takes the results to a higher level of accuracy. Whereas traditional abrasive waterjets have diameters down to 0.4 mm (0.38 mm), micro abrasive waterjets are even finer. Typical micro abrasive waterjet sizes are 0.3 mm and 0.2 mm and ongoing development will soon result in even smaller sizes.
A micro abrasive waterjet can cut minute parts with high precision and excellent surface finish. Moreover, it can in fact also be used to cut precision features in larges parts. Depending on the part material and size, tolerances can come down to ±0.01 mm. Normally, surface roughness values below 1,6 µm (Ra) can be accomplished, and for hard materials roughness values below 0.8 µm (Ra) are often obtainable.
The small jet diameters has the ability to work omnidirectionally and allows for fine features to be cut in intricate patterns with minimum radii down to ca 0.1 mm. Part sizes we cut vary greatly from sub-millimeter size to large 50 kg parts, and part complexity handled can include both complex geometries having down to 0,1 mm wide sections in flat stock, and complex shell structures that require live fixtures that can re-orient the workpiece for accessibility and even move it synchronized to the jet motion. For this type of machines work fixturing solutions are an important part of a successful application.
Nevertheless, for the micro abrasive waterjet to obtain this level of precision it must be handled by a specially designed machine system that is a capable precision machine tool. A machine designed and built for stable handling of the jet and workpiece with very high accuracy is required.
The Finecut WMC500 II uses state-of-the-art technology and innovative solutions to optimize performance. It has a controller that uses nanometer interpolation to ensure smooth motion. The machine design utilizes a direct drive motion system that operates at micrometer precision, built so that the tool motion is mechanically linked to the part being machined. High resolution absolute resolvers and a design for thermo-mechanical robustness promote high precision.
The Finecut micro abrasive waterjet technology utilizes particle erosion for material removal. The fine thing with erosion is that it works for material removal in virtually all materials! Surfaces produced will be free from adverse mechanical and thermal effects and in general requires no subsequent machining to remove damaged material from the product.
When a fine stream of energized particles strikes the work surface a range of erosion mechanisms are activated and causes material removal. Depending on the target material, the erosion mechanisms that are the efficient in material removal will vary and this is why virtually all materials can be cut. The adaptive cutting process gives unique possibilities to cut combined materials. An example of a difficult combination of materials with disparate properties can be products that combine carbon fibre, titanium and epoxy.
The ability to cut various materials with the same tool setup as described above has a great advantage to user friendliness of the process. Basically, you may get started by running the same process for most cutting applications with only the cutting speed as variable parameter to obtain a cut profile and quality required. Consequently, you can get started quickly producing parts.
The micro abrasive waterjet is a non-thermal cutting process. On a micro scale the erosion mechanisms create momentarily local heat upon contact but the continuous cooling by water will remove the heat and temperatures will cause no thermal effects on the cut surface.
The jet can cut omni-directionally which facilitates cutting highly complex geometries. Our technology cut narrow slits down to 0.2 mm, narrow sections down to 0.1 mm, performs fine piercing for holes or start for contours. Also 3D features are cut with our 5-axis system.
Even if the jet velocity is high the small flows of water gives a very low force from the jet. Consequently, also thin structures can be cut without being affected by the jet forces.
Do you want to learn more about the working principle behind abrasive waterjet cutting? What parameters influences the result of cutting? How to obtain high precision?