Andrew (Andy) Kamashian, CEA from Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales, Inc. joins David to discuss industrial #waterjet cutters. #waterjetcutting #blackbirdtv
About this segment of Blackbird TV
Recorded: May 25, 2021
Published: February 8, 2022
Joining me on Blackbird TV is Andy Kamashian, Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales from here all the way down in Tampa, Florida. I’m in Buffalo, New York. Hi, Andy. Hey, David, how are you? I’m great. Andy, I want to talk about water jets. I don’t see many of them in my practice, and I don’t know why. I really don’t know a lot about them. What’s a water jet? Waterjet’s a machine that takes two components, a motion system that you’re able to to move around over a flat sheet of material or even a shaped piece of material, and apply to it from a pump supplied in the back. High pressure volume of water to cut through that material. Now, typically that’s going to be mixed with an abrasive. And typically that abrasive is going to be garnet. And with that mixture of high pressure water and Garnet, it can it can cut anything it can touch. So it’s a very, very versatile machine. It’s a machine that a lot of R&D shops and job shops really, really like because they don’t have to change anything. They go from cutting aluminum to cutting steel, to cutting plastic, to cutting wood foam, fiberglass. There’s no changes. So what’s the difference then? Why wouldn’t you just go with a waterjet? Why would you go buy a laser instead of a waterjet if a waterjet’s more flexible? That’s a great question, because a a laser has such capability in and of itself where water jets sit. And I always like to say there’s this this the sawhorse, this balancing beam waterjet sits on the end of that beam, an area we call capability. It can do anything. It can cut any material, but it doesn’t cut it really fast and it doesn’t cut it quite as accurate as, say, a laser might in the category or capability range the laser is good at. So waterjet sits in that capability range. I can cut any material I can touch, and that’s stone, granite, tile glass all the way through to steel, stainless hardened steels. It can cut anything, but waterjet has a cost. It’s a little bit higher cost to run than some of these other processes, and it’s a little bit more expensive to not only more expensive to run, it’s also quite a bit slower, but then it can cut materials that these other processes can’t cut. So if someone’s looking at waterjet, they really want to look at the capability of of what what their needs are, what capabilities they need, and how waterjet might fit into that. Yeah, we sold a few over the years and they always fascinate me and their flexibility is incredible, as you point out, stone. right? The countertop in your house that was cut with a water jet. In most cases it was. What else can they do that—I mean, from a thickness perspective, in a capacity perspective, that might surprise some of our viewers. It’s water. I mean, it’s just water. It’s water mixed with abrasive. So the way I like to describe it is the water, high pressure water. It could be anywhere from forty thousand PSI all the way up to 95000 PSI that’s coming out of that nozzle. That water is mixed right before it exits that nozzle with this red garnet abrasive. And it’s the same material is found in red sandpaper. So it it’s pretty abrasive. And that mixture carried together is much like a bandsaw blade—we’ll call the water the blade and the abrasive the teeth of that blade. And we can cut albeit grind, because that’s the actually what the what the process is. It’s actually grinding a pathway through whatever material that’s that’s there. It’s the versatility of water jet that makes it so appealing. When people want to consider that for a shop, they just love that versatility. What’s the kerf that that actually requires? It’s probably different with various machines, but typically, what’s the kerf thickness of that cut? How how how much material gets removed when you’re when you’re doing that? It’s typically about a millimeter, about 40/1000s, depending on the size of pump and nozzle combination you’re using, but typically about a millimeter. So it could be any anywhere about 10, 15, thousandths above that and about 10, 15 thousandths below that. How does that compare with a laser? The lasers got much finer detail capabilities in a laser. Again, in a given range of materials, the thicker the material that we go with a laser, the slower and less detail that we’re going to be able to get out of that as we go thicker. So I’m appraising a water jet. I want to I need to buy a water jet and size it up. What do I want to look for in that machine? What are the important bells, whistles or dimensional or capacity descriptions that that I need to pay attention to? Andy. First thing is the you know, obviously, besides make and model of the machine, which, you know, different manufacturers are going to carry a different market attraction. We’re gonna want to look at the size, what what capacity, how much, how much material can I get on this machine? A very common size is five foot by 10 foot machine, 1500 by 3000 millimeters. So you’re going to want that’s a very attractive size for most shops. The next thing I’m going to want to look at is the pump that’s powering it. How much power and how much pressure? That’s going to add value to the machine, to more power and the more pressure and a good example is a very standard machine is a 30 horsepower, 60000 PSI output, a little bit of an upgrade from that as a 60000 are assuming a 50 horsepower, 60000 PSI output. And another upgrade from that would be a 50 horsepower, 90000 PSI output. And as I go up in these pressures and I go up in the horsepower, I get more efficiency in cutting makes the machine more valuable. One other feature that that a lot of folks are looking for are looking to add to machines today. Is that tilting head technology. And there’s two types. So it can cut on an angle. Absolutely. There is a full five axes that can run 45 degrees and create all kinds of complex designs, which you would have to have the need for but it’s certainly worth more money. And then there’s the type that just simply covers the the taper compensation that naturally occurs in water cutting. So depending on the the thickness of material, you might get a couple of degrees of taper in the in the cut part edge . Now, some parts it doesn’t matter. Other parts might require a little bit more precision. So you’d have this ability for the head to just canter off a little bit to put all of that taper into the scrap material. And those are desirable in most shops want that kind of cutting action. Another thing to take a look at is machines that are equipped with multiple cutting heads. Two heads can cut two parts at the same time. And so there’s multiple cutting heads that can be also an additional factor to add value to the machine, as well as some machines may even be equipped with dual pumps. Some of the accessories that you may want to add to a water jet or would increase value as well would be a closed loop recycling system. And this would simply take the water out of the machine after it’s been used. Filter it, cool it and put it back into the pump for reuse. So you have zero discharge in wastewater from the machine. Last option is, is a an abrasive removal system as we’re putting all that abrasive into the machine during a cutting operation. It’s got to go somewhere and it settles in the bottom of the waterjet tank. If we have that option to suck that tank out and clean that that sand and aggregate out of the water jet, that also adds value to that machine. Can you reuse that sand? You can reuse the sand. Yes, you can. But reusing the sand is going to cost you about 70 cents to 80 cents a pound, whereas purchasing raw virgin sand is about twenty four to 30 cents a pound. Well, that’s an easy decision, isn’t it? Although it can be done, it’s probably not feasible to do it. Yeah. So there’s a waste disposal aspect of a water jet that you need to consider as well then? Correct. Excellent. Great information. Ask the expert. Andy Kamashian, Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales. You are the man. I appreciate your expertize and your time today. Thank you, David.