Micro abrasive water jet enables precision cutting of virtually all materials. The jet is a fantastic tool that adopts to the material and is capable of cutting complicated geometries in tough materials like Zirconia.
The Finecut micro abrasive waterjet machining centers from Finepart Sweden AB have for example been launched to the Swiss market. The installation was made at a manufacturer of high-end luxury goods. Adopting this process for prototyping will enable testing new experimental designs in various materials to introduce new innovative products to the market.
The micro abrasive waterjet process utilizes nature’s most powerful material removal mechanism – erosion. The non-thermal process offers the opportunity to cut virtually any type of material at high precision with no distortion of the material, leaving a smooth surface finish. Being able to produce tolerances down to ±0.01 mm, depending on the material, with a cutting tool radius as small as 0.1 mm.
Parts can be cut in a wide range of materials, from soft to ultra-hard. The same tool that cuts sensitive natural materials such as mother of pearl can also handle part production modern engineering ceramics. The tool cuts omnidirectionally which enables cutting parts of high geometrical complexity. In this aspect it becomes an interesting complement to the diamond saw or CNC grinding. We see an increasing demand for cutting very hard materials. New product opportunities are created by micro abrasive cutting of sapphire crystal and zirconium dioxide.
Cutting carbon fibre reinforced plastics is a well-established application for traditional waterjets in large structures. Micro abrasive waterjet offers the same benefits with precision added. Adopting a miniaturized version of this process to a high precision machine tool expands applications into the field of fine mechanics. Carbon fibre in combination with metals is no problem for the micro abrasive waterjet tool.