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Water Jet Cutting in Sheet Metal Fabrication

One of the primary processes of sheet metal fabrication is metal cutting. There are many available metal cutting techniques employed in today's fabrication industries. As a customer requiring fabricated metal sheet designs, you may not have the luxury of knowing all the nitty-gritty's involved in the fabrication process. You should, however, pay keen attention to the cutting technique employed. Different cutting techniques are suitable for various material types and bear different results. You should, therefore, enquire with your fabricator about the cutting technique they intend to employ and how suitable it will be for your material and envisioned results.

One of the best sheet metal fabrication cutting techniques is water jet cutting. Water jet cutting employs the use of a highly pressurized jet of water to cut the sheet metal into your designs.  The water is mixed with abrasives such as aluminum oxide, and the process of cutting mimics erosion at high speeds. With the extremely high pressure and abrasives, the jet is directed onto a flat metal sheet laid on a surface, and precise cuts are made. This process has proven more efficient and advantageous for many reasons, including the following. 

Quality finishes

If you are a customer looking for sheet metal fabrication that exhibits high- quality finishes, then this is your method. Water jet cut edges don't display chips, burrs, or burns that are typical of other cutting techniques like laser cutting or saw cutting. The abrasive water leaves a smooth edge that almost seems sandblasted. This can be an important consideration when you want smooth edges that could cost more if extra finishing touches were to be required.

Eliminate heat affected zones

A typical occurrence with cutting techniques that employ heat such as laser and plasma cutting is the creation of heat affected zones. These zones result from the heat altering the physical properties of the material being cut. Some metals can melt at the edges around the cuts while others show weakened properties in such areas, such as brittleness. With water jet cutting, sheet metal fabrication can be done without these heat-associated concerns. Water is a good heat absorber. It is also an excellent insulator: Combining these two properties results in an efficient, heat conscious cutting process. For fabrications using metals such as stainless steels, metal alloys, tool steels, and even plastics, this would be a good option where heat may actually alter the materials.

The above two advantages poise water jet cutting as a preferable cutting option during sheet metal fabrication where a higher quality of results is a key concern. For more information, contact your local sheet metal fabrication company.