Water Jet Cutting is a division of Gee Graphite Ltd, the company founded in 1989 to offer a range of industrial gasket and sealing products based on expanded flexible graphite. It was through the difficulties posed in cutting composite graphite materials that a more radical and innovative approach had to be considered. This led to the installation in 1991 of the UK’s first Water jet cutting system. Gee Graphite realised the capabilities and potential of water jet cutting and so a separate division offering customers a sub-contract service was set up.
Since then the waterjet cutting division has grown substantially and now operates from a 62,000 Sq.ft site in West Yorkshire offering both pure water & abrasive waterjet cutting from various machines both single and multi-head configuration.
With a total of 8 water jet cutting machines and a combined total of 41 cutting heads, we have capacity to meet our bespoke customer demands. With all the various configurations, we are in a strong position to select the optimum bed size and head configuration for a particular job. With so many waterjet cutting machines available to us, we are in the fortunate position to always attain to meet our customer’s demands.
What is Waterjet Cutting?
There are two options to our processes:
Pressurising water to 60,000 psi (3,600 bar) then projecting it through an orifice. This creates a significant amount of energy concentrated in a narrow jet of water, travelling at close to the speed of sound. The result is an extremely powerful and a precise pure water jet cutting tool coming from our 4 pure water machines.
The abrasive system employs the same methods as pure water however with an addition of an abrasive garnet mixed into the stream increases the cutting force significantly. When the high-velocity water exits the orifice it creates a vacuum within the mixing chamber. The vacuum pulls abrasive from the abrasive line into the chamber where it is mixed with the water jet cutting stream. The resulting mixture is then realigned in a focusing tube before exiting the cutting head nozzle. At this point the accelerated abrasive particles are now travelling at speeds fast enough to cut through the hardest of materials, all this is achieved by a water jet that is little more than 0.8mm in diameter. Our 4 abrasive machines have a range in bed size and number of cutting heads. Our largest machines are 6000mm by 3000mm and 4000mm by 2000mm, with each incorporating four cutting heads. In addition, two of our water jet cutting machines are equipped with drilling facilities to aid cutting some of the more fragile laminate materials.
One of the biggest advantages is that water jet is a cold cutting technology. This allows materials to be cut that would otherwise be burned, melted or cracked by other cutting methods. It also guarantees that no structural or metallurgical changes occur tothe materials being processed.
The process is clean and does not create dust, fumes or hazardous gases. Cutting oils or coolants are not required.
The amount of material removed by the water jet stream is typically 0.5-1.0 mm wide, meaning that very little material is removed. When working with expensive material (titanium, inconel, monel etc..) or hazardous material (such as lead), water jets small kerf, or cut width optimizes material use.
With state-of the-art CAD software combined with our multi cutting head machinery we have the ability to cut hundreds of different parts together in one nest. This gives us the ability to significantly reduce the amount of material required, whilst at the same time reducing the component processing time.
All our programming is carried out offline in a designated CAD office. This allows a quick and relatively easy set up at the machine.
Water Jet Cutting can meet the demands of most customer enquiries and cut the largest of profiles. With a maximum cutting bed size of 6000mm by 3000mm and an overhead crane with a 9 tonne lifting capacity, there are few components we cannot accommodate.
• High Cutting Speeds Many Commonly Used Materials
• Minimal Fixturing Required
• High Repeat Accuracy
• No Crushing of Material
• No Tool Sharpening
• Just-in-time Manufacturing Ability
• Eliminates Post Machining in Most Cases
• Rapid Prototyping
• One-Off To Volume Production
The versatility and flexibility of water jet profile cutting as a tool has seen its popularity grow rapidly since its introduction in the mid 1990’s.
Some key advantages are:-
Through quality assurance audits we have developed
a professional relationship with many subcontract partners.
In 2012 the company invested in a new, industry focused CAD package that is designed specifically with water jet cutting as its primary user. Its installation has brought about dramatic changes, all of which have a direct positive impact on what we offer our customers. Chief among these improvements are faster cutting times, superior quality and better utilisation of material.
The software also has its own inbuilt estimating package which is linked directly to each of our water jet machines. As a result, we are able to upload CAD profiles and attain true machine cutting times which are accurate to the second. Add to that a material utilisation module that nests the maximum number of parts in the best possible way and you have a very precise and efficient estimating tool. When combined these factors ensure the customer gets as many parts as possible at the best price, every time.
Running costs are an ongoing concern for any business wishing to succeed in today’s climate and it is no different here at Water Jet Cutting. That is why we are always looking to improve our manufacturing efficiency and minimise costs where ever possible. As a result, in late 2013 we continued our innovative tradition and took the bold step of installing the first UK based Ward Pro Abrasive Recycling System. The System recycles more than 50% of the used abrasive helping to reduce our processing costs and enabling us to offer customers competitive pricing. As an ISO 14001 accredited company, recycling has a direct and positive impact on reducing abrasive waste sent to landfill.