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How to Get Rid of Abrasives During Your Water Jet Cutting Machine Cleanout?

People who are first-time owners/users of abrasive waterjet machines often wonder if they have to contend with hazardous materials while using them as they need to address the prospect of dealing with either abrasive particles or wastewater. The main concern for businesses is paying the significant costs associated with waste disposal or waste treatment or risking fines or litigation.

Waterjet establishments must be up to date with current local water disposal and solid-waste restrictions, so they know the business and environmental costs of what they are throwing away.

Garnet, the most commonly used waterjet abrasive material, is classified as an inert, naturally produced semi-precious mineral. It can be mined in the mountains of Idaho or in upstate New York. as well as from the beaches of India and Australia.

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Is Abrasive Waste Classified Hazardous Substance?

So, do we consider abrasive waste as something hazardous? Can it put human health in harm’s way? Or be detrimental to the surrounding environment?

It actually depends on the kind of material you are cutting or slicing, as well as how much of it you are processing. 

If what you are working on involves the processing (cutting/slicing or trimming) of lead or beryllium copper, you run the risk of putting yourself in a life-threatening situation. 

In terms of other materials, the amount of scrap material that comes with the used abrasive particle is so small that it is almost negligible. In the case of stainless steel, unless they carry a considerable amount of nickel or chromium in them, they are infrequently a matter of concern.

As with water, you should perform a toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TLCP testing) to help determine the abrasive material’s level of toxicity. If you can obtain a used abrasive before purchasing the water jet cutting machine, operate it for a few months first and have it evaluated.

What is TLCP Testing? 

CNCThe toxicity characteristic leaching technique (otherwise known as TCLP), is a crucial test for spent water and abrasive because it assesses waste water’s level of toxicity. The TCLP was developed by the EPA to imitate the leaching process that garbage goes through when it is dumped in a dedicated sanitary landfill.

It identifies how much of the waste’s harmful elements will find their way and seep into the surrounding environment. 

If you are planning to purchase a water softener anytime soon, or want to acquire a water recycling system or perhaps a reverse osmosis system from the same vendor, you should anticipate paying less or getting it free of charge. 

If there is something you want to know further about the TLCP procedure, we suggest that you can contact your waste hauler. After all, they carry out this procedure at least once a year. 

Reducing Disposal Costs

Piles of bags of used or spent abrasive materials line most of the waterjet workshops, draining water. By draining the water they hold, they are not obligated to pay for its disposal, too. 

Alternatively, a waterjet machine shop can take advantage of abrasive removal systems that can extract the water from the tank. What they do is hold the abrasive materials and reduce the volume to a trickle while the abrasive particles are being retrieved.

A second disposal alternative: Put it up for sale. 

For this, you would want to look for companies that are involved in the production of pavers. Depending on the arrangement you want to have with them, they are willing to compensate you if you’re able to deliver them a constant and considerable supply of used abrasive particles like garnet.

How Do You Work with a CNC Plasma Cutting Table?

Best CNC Plasma Cutter for Sale

When trying to work with a CNC cutting machine, there is a manifold of good reasons why you should veer away from the use of a dry or downdraft table and take advantage of a plasma cutting table instead. Acquiring it is less expensive and will never necessitate for a dust collector to be around. Additionally, it significantly helps in reducing noise, minimizes heat distortion, eradicates arc flash, and is also helpful in keeping your parts cool. By now, it may well sit as an older type of technology, but relevant amounts of reliable CNC plasma cutters for sale, as well as the oxy-fuel type of cutting machines, still abound the market and most of them are still sold with water tables.

The Basics of Water Table

Structure-wise, some tables work like a tank. They are filled with water, and on top of them are burning bars. However, this would not accord to you the full benefits of underwater plasma cutting. Let us tackle about a water table type that comes with an adjustable water level. This type of plasma cutting table allows you to submerge your plasma torch and the plate underwater. 

Constructing this type of cutting table is pretty simple. You just need to build a large chamber into the table, under the steel tray and burning bars. The chamber inside the water table needs to have a couple of openings along its bottom edge. This feature will allow air to be trapped inside it, remember how an upside-down bowl submerges. Pretty much it works that way, too. Then, if you will let the air out, or by putting some air into the chamber, it will render the water in the table to go up or down.  

Its water level controls are most of the time equipped with an air supply valve. It should come with an air supply valve that takes charge of handling compressed air that is going in and out of the chamber. These valves are simple ball valves which you can operate by hand. In the case of the solenoid valves, your CNC equipment can control them instead.

By closing the release valve, the water in the table is raised. This action will eventually render the supply valve to open as well. Compressed air will be pushed into the chamber and force the water through openings located at the bottom part of the chamber. This will bring the water level to rise. Soon after the desired level of water is reached, the air supply valve will close while the air release valve will as is, closed. This will hold the air inside the chamber, causing the water level to stay up.

Underwater Plasma Cutting

The major underlying reason why we use such kind of table is for carrying out underwater plasma cutting. With respect to the torch design, you can submerge it and still do your cutting successfully sans the need or use of any additional hardware. 

But with the newer, more recent versions of oxygen plasma cutting systems that are now equipped with precision plasma capability, there is a need for air-curtain to allow clamping onto the torch. Compressed air is used by the air-curtain to produce a bubble that will surround the torch’s front end. This way the precision arc is rendered secure from the water. There are plasma torches that are not particularly intended for use underwater but can still be used in cutting a plate that is set above water.  

In the case of larger tables, even if you have no plans or intentions of cutting underwater, the use of an entry-level CNC plasma cutting table equipped with water level control is highly recommended. It lets you lower the water level so you can have easy access to it when trying to clean up the small parts that inevitably get in the way between the burning bars.