No. 4. Use Just Water
to the Cut,
For most sheet metal work, waterjet
cutting requires abrasive. But if you
are cutting materials that allow you to
forego the use of abrasive, that eliminates worries about dust and muck.
It also reduces the amount of abrasive that is used, which is good news if
you are looking to save some money.
No. 5. Run the
Most shops run their waterjets until
the tanks start to fill with muck, calling in a company to empty it only
when absolutely necessary. After all,
shops only get paid while the waterjet
is producing parts.
An automated abrasive removal
system allows the waterjet to run as
long as it is cutting parts. The system
keeps the tanks clean and reduces
opportunities for the jet to kick water
and muck out of the tank.
This type of system performs best if
you run it constantly, because the jets
at the bottom of the tank won’t get
clogged with abrasives or dropped
At the very least, if you only run
your abrasive removal system occasionally, be sure to monitor the
amount of abrasives that you put
into the tank. That way you’ll know
the best time to start pulling out the
abrasive before excessive kick-back
becomes a problem.
No. 6. Consider the
Use of a Flood Nozzle
A flood nozzle creates a small curtain
of water around the jet stream, which
helps contain the kick-back.
When cutting glass or a polished
material, the flood nozzle also helps
with the frosting of the material’s
edge once it is cut.
Fabricators also have used plastic
or aluminum shields around the waterjet stream to help keep the mess in
the tank. The use of a plunger head is
also not out of the realm of possibility.
No. 7. Revisit How the Parts
If you truly are serious about eliminating kick-back, take a
look at the programming of the cut path. For example, if
a job doesn’t call for exquisite edge quality, the program-
mer could design tabs into the cutting program so that
parts don’t come loose when they are cut. With that extra
support, you could cut the parts without the use of slats
in the waterjet. Without the slats, the waterjet stream isn’t
likely to create a lot of kick-back. Of course, you will have to
break the parts out, but you could do that in the time you
usually would sped cleaning the tank area.
A job also can be refigured to start cuts on the edge of
the material to prevent the splash that occurs with pierces
in the middle of the material. The programmer also could
have the waterjet cut continuously on a piece of sheet metal or plate to avoid the start and stops that churn up the
water and create more kick-back.
Ben Callahan is a regional sales manager, Jet Edge Waterjet
Systems, 800-538-3343, www.jetedge.com.