waterjet intensifier diagram

In previous posts we have talked about the specific components of the waterjet cutting nozzles and the head assembly. But the waterjet cutting head is only of the major components of a CNC Waterjet Cutting System. As illustrated below, there are a number of crucial pieces of quality waterjet cutting system.

Components of a waterjet cutting system

At MultiCam, we are proud partners with KMT, manufacturers of quality waterjet intensifiers. These intensifiers are what pressure the water to the point where it can cut through metals at a high rate of speed.

But what makes up an intensifier?

waterjet pump diagramThe first component is the pump. The waterjet pump is really several different assemblies that work together to pressurize water so much that it is compressed more than 13% (by comparison, the water at the deepest part of the ocean is compressed less than 5%).

Water is piped into the pump, boosted to 80 psi by a small motor and passed through a series of filters. Each progressive filter has a decreased micron size to filter out particulate as it’s very important that the water going through the cutting nozzle is completely clear of contaminates. After filtration, the water enters the intensifier.

The pump motor can range from 15 to 150 HP (11.2 kW – 110 kW) with the size directly relating to the maximum flow rate for the pump. Multi-headed waterjet cutting would require more horsepower. The electric motor works with the hydraulic pump to create oil pressure inside the intensifier; this oil pressure is used to pressurize the cutting water.waterjet pump motor diagram

Now the water travels from the low pressure water assembly to the intensifier. The hydraulic oil moves a piston back and forth, which in turn drives the plungers and generates the high pressure. The amount of pressure generated is determined by the surface area of the piston and plunger and the pressure of the hydraulic oil in the cylinder.

The high pressured water now travels through an attenuator to balance out any variations in the water steam so that constant pressure is maintained. The water finally exits through the cutting nozzle at a pressure of up to 90,000 PSI.


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