Waterjet cutting machines can cut steel, aluminum, brass, stone, granite, marble, plastics, foam, PVC, and many others. In order to purchase a stable machine with consistent and precise cut quality there are certain factors that need to be considered before purchasing the system.
Listed below are 10 things you should look for when buying a CNC waterjet:
Attend a demo or look at sample parts cut beforehand:
Waterjet machines are known for cutting a variety of materials with no heat affected edges. Before purchasing, make sure you inspect sample parts cut by the machine or schedule a machine demonstration. Look to see if the dimensions are accurate, all inside and outside corners are cut precisely and the piece has an overall finished look without the need for secondary operation. Click here to schedule a waterjet demonstration on MultiCam’s 3000 Series Waterjet with 90,000 PSI.
Know the range of thickness in the materials typically being cut. Waterjet machines can cut virtually any material up to a 10″ thick and typically 2-6” thick in steel with abrasive waterjet cutting. One alternative is plasma cutting which can cut with high speed but unable to cut over 2”.
Repeat ability is the measure of how well the machine can sustain its positioning over time and determines its ability to repeatedly cut the same looking part. It would be highly unproductive if you had to make the part several times before you find the desired result.
The waterjet pump pressurizes the water to go through the cutting head where it is then emitted at high velocities through a tiny orifice. There are certain steps you can follow to determine the appropriate HP for your waterjet (Click here for more details). If the pump has enough power, multiple cutting heads can be considered to obtain higher efficiency.
Ensure the waterjet machine has a nesting package or nesting features within the software working to minimize material costs while maximizing material yield.
What are the variable costs to running the machine? Costs such as electricity, installation, training, consumables, water, abrasive, nozzles, pump seals, costs of labour, and many others need to be considered in addition to the fixed cost of the machine. Estimate how many hours or days you will be working the machine per month and come up with an approximate overall amount in monthly expenses.
Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) Budget:
The cost of a waterjet widely depends on its construction, features, model, brand name, etc. Make sure you determine your CAPEX budget while keeping in mind the variable costs of operation. Often, manufacturers find buying a machine when the economy unexpectedly goes downhill to be a wise choice as prices tend to be lower.
Purchase a Quality Machine:
Purchase a machine with many features and options specifically designed for customer requirements. For instance, you would want a strong and rigid constructed machine with a moving gantry design capable of smooth and accurate performance. Also, options such as multiple head assemblies, different table sizes, water recycling systems, CAD/CAM software, or abrasive hoppers can help make your operation much easier and more effective. Purchasing a poor quality machine or software can result in low precision components or software that is not designed for waterjet applications.
Ensure you have the proper facilities in order to successfully and efficiently run and operate a waterjet cutting system. This comes down to whether or not you have enough floor space, power, water, drainage, material storage, material loading, labour, etc.
Warranty and Technical Support:
Ensure the company you purchase from offers warranty, training, and technical support in case anything goes wrong during operation. Ask yourself: Do they have a good reputation for customer service? Do they provide local support? Online support? How many days of training do they offered? Do they carry spare parts?
At MultiCam Canada, we sell CNC waterjets offered in V-Series, 3000 Series, 5000 Series, and 6000 Series. With table sizes ranging from 4’ x 4’ o 20’ x 60’+, intensifiers from 30HP to 200 HP, and 60K or 90K PSI options, our machines are one of the most reliable and accurate cutting systems on the market today. Every MultiCam waterjet also comes with full support from our MultiCam Technology Center network, with over 70 locations worldwide. MultiCam sales, service, support and training are always nearby. Click here for more information on our waterjet systems.