cutting metals

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.

waterjet ,machines

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.

Can a WaterJet Cutting Machine Cut Through Metal?

Water Jet Cutting Nozzles

Waterjet cutting machines are among the most indispensable cutting tools that are ubiquitous in almost every machine shop in the country. These pieces of equipment can be taken advantage of when cutting metal with the help of pressurized stream of water. It indeed sounds pretty amazing to think that something as mild and delicate as water can be utilized to cut something tough and durable like metal.

If you have not seen how a waterjet technology works, imagine instead how power washers work. They are similar in many aspects and are at least 30 times the pressure of power washers, and yes I am pertaining to those we see used in local car wash centers. Power washing is integral to the operation of car wash shops. It cuts away dirt and grimes off a vehicle’s wheels, body, and tires. 

To cut metal with the use of water, you need to make sure that your spray remains coherent throughout the process. Ultra-high pressure waterjet cutting machine can be made to cut through tough objects by channeling the spray through an extremely narrow jeweled nozzle at super-high pressure. By this measure, the pressure and the cutting power of the water spray will remain consistent. Unlike metal cutters, there is no chance that waterjet technology will ever get dull or will it ever overheat.  

The Key to Cutting Metals

As earlier mentioned, the key to cutting through metal and other similar and tough objects with the use of water is to keep its flow directed and consistent. Failure to control its flow and high pressure would render it ineffective. The working principle behind this technology is simple to understand. Would you be able to cut through a piece of metal with just a splash of water? Needless to say, we know that it just won’t work, right?

The use of a strong jet machine here is imperative to help the pressured water channel through an extremely narrow nozzle. By doing this, you can leverage on the liquid and its full pressure. Aside from overheating issues, the use of water jet technology in your metal cutting concerns removes many known logistical roadblocks. Other metal-cutters are way too difficult to handle or too expensive.  

Waterjet Cutting Speeds

Plain and simple waterjet cutting is most of the time used for softer materials. But if you want to further intensify its cutting power and be able to cut through tough and hard materials, abrasive granules can be mixed to the pressured water. In the early years of water jet cutting, the water leaving the nozzle would have a whopping speed of 900 miles per hour. This is around 1450 kilometers in an hour.  

But with the latest developments in this department and with the help of automated tools we have now, it is now possible for abrasive water jet machines to have a staggering speed of 3700 km/hr or 2300 mph. This incredible speed will let you cut metal to 0.0002. To have a better picture of how small that is, compare that to the typical size of the tip of the human hair which is 0.0004 inches.  

In the past, you can only cut one piece of metal with a saw or with some other kind of mechanical metal cutting processes. Usually, there is so much drudgery in such processes as they are also expensive and time-intensive.