Waterjet Cutting in the Automotive Industry
Why use water jet technology for automotive applications? For starters - whether you are using waterjet machines or 6 Axis Robotic systems - water jet technology is extremely versatile and capable of cutting composites, steel and titanium as easily as cutting headliners, door panels & carpet with pure water. The addition of a non-hazardous garnet abrasive to pure waterjet enables titanium, bronze, and steel cutting with ease, speed, and precision. One cutting station can cut multiple different parts without changing anything but the cut software programming.
This makes these machines, referred to as cutting boxes, particularly flexible in production lines where various different components are manufactured. The cutting boxes are equipped with one or more robots with pure water or abrasive cutting heads and allow for multidimensional waterjet cutting. The material is often transferred to the cutting box on conveyor belts or sliding tables. While the component on the front part of the sliding table is processed, the material on the rear section is clamped.In addition, cutting with water, there are no Heat-Affected Zones (HAZ), no noxious fumes and no mechanical stresses on the cut surface. Neither do water jet cutters produce significant material waste, which means that the material is used more efficiently. And to further aid production, water jet cutters create smooth, rough-edge and burr-free surfaces, even on materials that are not uniform, eliminating the need for secondary finishing.
While KMT waterjets have been used for mass production applications using 6 axis robotics for increased speed and flexibility in the automotive industry, hundreds of job shops are using KMT waterjet pumps and cutting heads to fabricate one-of-a-kind automotive parts.
ADVANTAGES OF WATERJET CUTTING IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY
- No heat affected zones (HAZ)
- Extremely narrow cutting kerf allows tighter nesting and less waste
- Allows for tolerances of +/- 0.1 mm (.003")
- Multi-dimensional cutting
- Fast and easy prototype production
- No need to rework cut edges
- No tool resharpening
- Stress-free cutting - no damage to the metal structure
- Maximum flexibility in production cutting processes
Cutting Comparison - Waterjet Cutting vs. Laser Cutting vs. Plasma Cutting
Cutting Speeds at 6,200 bar
Cutting Speeds at 4,100 bar