The Aerospace industry started using WaterJet technology early on for manufacturing items for the interiors of planes. At the early stage mainly pure WaterJet was being utilized, but later abrasive cutting was also adopted to cut the metals and composites used in production. Today in the Aerospace industry almost every plane has at least some component that was cut using WaterJet technology.
Why is this Technology so Popular?
WaterJets are extremely powerful machines that have the ability and versatility to cut a wide range of materials. In addition there are a few characteristics that WaterJet technology possesses which makes it ideal for the aerospace industry. They are as follows:
- No Heat Affected Zone: A heat affected zone is described as an area of the material that has been structurally altered because of the heat generated by certain forms of cutting. With WaterJet technology there is no heat generated during the cutting process, therefore leaving the material with its original properties intact
- Edge Finish: As mentioned above, many cutting technologies create a Heat Affected Zone. Another outcome from many cutting technologies is something called burr. Burr is a ragged ridge of metal that is left on the material after a process such as drilling, welding or engraving. With WaterJet neither of these occur, and therefore secondary finishing processes are not required.
- Decreasing Airborne Materials While Cutting: One of the challenges with machining composite parts is that particles become airborne and can be potentially harmful in the workplace. This is greatly minimized by using WaterJet technology as it does not create airborne particles in the cutting process.
- The Ability to Cut Composite Materials: Many composite materials present a challenge for machining because either they are too hard or detrimental to tool life. With the power of abrasive technology, WaterJet machines are able to cut through extremely hard materials with ease.