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If you want to cut materials, there are many ways to achieve it, using sawing, as well as air cutting, etc., can realize the cutting of various materials.
But these cutting methods are not perfect, so waterjet cutting and laser cutting were later invented, which are also widely used cutting methods. It turns out that these two methods are also the most effective cutting solutions in the industry.
But people have not stopped looking for better cutting methods, such as the processing of some precision metal parts or the cutting of some new materials. New cutting methods need to be found, and then a unique waterjet laser cutting technology has been developed.
First, let's take a look at the differences and similarities between the waterjet and laser cutting methods.
Waterjet, Is to use water as a knife, by pressurizing the water in the container to ultra-high pressure, and then spraying a high-pressure water stream through a very small nozzle, so as to realize the cutting of the material; in order to increase the cutting ability, some garnet sand, diamond, etc. Abrasives are added to water, which is a widely used cutting method now.
laser cutting, A high-power laser beam is produced by a machine, and then irradiated to the material to be cut. The high temperature generated by the laser will melt or vaporize the irradiated material, thereby realizing the cutting of the material.
Two: the material to be cut
Waterjet, There are almost no restrictions on the material that can be cut. Waterjet cutting will not let the material generate heat, thereby avoiding the melting, warping, bending, burning and other phenomena of the material being cut; common material types for waterjet cutting include plastic , Rubber, stone, ceramic tiles, stainless steel, and other metals.
laser, The laser can cut a wider range of metals, including stainless steel and carbon steel, as well as aluminum and many alloys. Some lasers can cut through non-conductive materials such as wood, glass or plastic, but the heat generated by the laser will affect some metals. The product has an impact.
Three: cutting thickness
Waterjet: There is no limit to the thickness of the waterjet cutting material. The main thing depends on the strength of the water jet. The higher the pressure, the thicker the material can be cut.
laser: In a general mechanical workshop, most lasers can cut metal of about 2 cm, but the thickness of the cutting material also varies according to the metal. The melting point and thermal conductivity of the metal will affect the thickness of the laser cutting; the advantage of the laser cutting machine is , It can cut thinner materials at much higher speeds than water jets.
Four: cutting precision and quality
Waterjet: The cutting width of the water jet is about 0.7 mm, and the cutting surface is very thin. In some cases, it almost reaches the quality of the machine, but there will be some errors from the top to the bottom of the slit. The thicker the material, the greater the error will be.
laser：The cutting error of laser is much smaller than that of waterjet. When cutting tight geometric shapes on small parts or when parts need to be nested closely together, laser cutting can be achieved, and laser cutting can make the surface of the cut profile more Clean and smooth, but will leave some streaks as the thickness or speed increases.
Five: Comparison and summary
Waterjet: Waterjet cutting is an accurate and versatile cutting method that can cut a wide range of materials and thicknesses. Although the speed of waterjet is not as fast as laser in some materials, it can provide high cutting quality. Generate heat that affects the material.
laser: Laser cutting is very fast and accurate, but it depends on the material and thickness. In general, the speed and accuracy of the laser are very high. For thicker materials or materials that are affected by heat, it is best to find another cutting method .
Combination of laser and water jet
With the emergence of new materials such as carbon fiber reinforced polymers and ceramic matrix composites, the machining of these new materials has become a problem.
Both waterjet and laser cutting have some shortcomings. In order to meet this challenge, waterjet laser cutting technology has been developed to process such advanced composite materials.
Waterjet laser cutting is a hybrid processing method, also known as laser microjet. It combines the laser with "fine" water jets. The water jets (water jets) are precisely guided by a method similar to conventional optical fibers. The laser beam thus realizes the cutting, and the water jet continuously cools the cutting area and effectively removes the debris generated during cutting.
The technology was first applied to semiconductor wafer cutting. As the technology matures, it is gradually extended to medical equipment, watch processing, gas and jet engine turbine blades, semiconductor equipment machining, and material cutting in the manufacturing process of superhard tools.
After the laser is focused, it will form a laser beam. When it passes through the pressurized water cavity, it will push the water forward and focus into the nozzle. Finally, the laser beam will be emitted from the nozzle together with the water stream.
There is no abrasive in this water stream, so the cutting is mainly based on laser. The function of water is to use the water column to guide the laser to not disperse, to gather laser energy to cut faster, and to cool down and remove debris.
From the nozzle to the cutting workpiece, the laser beam will not be scattered, but will continue to reflect and advance in the water column. In principle, it is similar to optical fiber transmission. The laser beam can be guided at a distance of up to 10cm to achieve a neat Cut seams without refocusing or distance control.
Waterjet laser cutting can obtain very high cutting quality, no thermal damage to the material, no burning or thermal degradation, fewer burrs, smoother surface, higher precision in straight-edge cutting, which helps to maintain the high precision of the aperture, etc. Advantages, and the water jet can continuously cool the cutting area, and can effectively remove the debris generated during cutting.
For processors, waterjet laser cutting can have a faster production speed, a wider range of processing materials, higher reliability and higher cutting quality, and lower cutting costs. With the emergence of more new materials, all these characteristics of waterjet laser cutting will also be more widely used.
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