What Does It Take to Keep Your Waterjet Cutting Machine in Tip-top Shape?

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The majority of end-users of waterjet cutting machines tend to undervalue the maintenance work that brand new machines usually require to have. Poor maintenance practices can lead to serious downtimes. If this is true to your situation now, there is a slim chance that you will see a return on your investment soon enough. 

To keep your machine in its top form and shape, you must always factor in the costs that are usually associated with maintaining a waterjet cutting machine. This aspect covers the abrasive feeding apparatus,  the pump and the cutting head, and lastly, the high-pressure delivery lines.  

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Big Cost Picture

Many people are not aware that waterjet cutting systems are prone to self-destruction. When you bring together 50,000 psi of pressurized water mixed with abrasive particles, anything that it comes into contact with will need to be replaced. 

Typically, the cost of running a waterjet system, together with the cost of the machine itself, the overhead staff, and the operator, may need you to shell out more or less $85 an hour.  

Check the Water Quality

What can be considered as among the major contributing factors in controlling the consumable costs in a waterjet system is the quality of the water itself. If you make use of hard water on your waterjet cutting machine, you will run the risk of cutting short its expected service span, down by at least half.  

Before making any decision to acquire or purchase a waterjet system, it is crucial that your fabricator test out incoming water they intend to use on it. They need to determine the type of water they have if it is going to be hard or soft water because it will create a significant impact on the outcome eventually. 

water qualityIt is critical that you ensure that the water quality you are intending to use in your system is at par with the specifications indicated by the manufacturer. 

Manufacturers are keen that you use less than 100 ppm or parts per million of TDS or total dissolved solids on their offered waterjet cutting machine. This system of measurement determines the level of concentration of inorganic solids that are present in the water. These substances present in the water will add up to the water’s hardness, much like how too much calcium and magnesium affect it in that aspect. 

If your water happens to have less than 100 PPM of TDS, be aware that this level can still stir up issues to your waterjet system. Therefore, you need to take caution here.  This means to say that the water you have will leach any material that it will touch. 

Water softener products can be taken advantage of in scenarios like the one described above. They usually come with a price tag of $3,000 to $6,000, however, they would only cost you pennies per hour to run. 

In general, this is the only thing you need to have if your incoming water registers less than 200 PPM TDS. If this type of system happens to have an overflow, it will be directed straight to the drain.  

Check Out the Pneumatic Valve

The pneumatic valve can be opened or closed. This mechanism allows water control flow to the cutting head. If your valve is already worn out, the odds that water will be dripping from the cutting head is high.  

When replacing the valve, it will roughly take you about 15-20 minutes to do so. With regard to the cost of replacing the pneumatic valve, you might need to shell out a small amount of money that is anywhere between $100 to 200, but this amount would be highly dependent on the number of items needing replacement.  

Inspect the Connectors, Hand Valves, and Final Filter

If you want to know the number of elbows, T’s, hand valves, and other connectors your waterjet system comes with, you may need to track the water path and this would be starting right from the pump and then down to the cutting head. 

The hand valves, T’s, and elbows will remain in good working condition for an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 working hours. After the lapse of that period, they may necessitate replacement and could cost around $50 to $200. 

As for the final filter, its main purpose is to collect debris that is lurking randomly in and on the water surface. The final filter needs to catch them before they would get their way into the cutting head itself. The filter, with respect to how it is built and designed, requires either replacement or cleaning only.