Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Waterjet Cutting Bevels for Weld Preparation Increases Productivity and Saves Money

By David Arthur
Jet Edge, Inc.

Weld preparation can be a difficult and time consuming operation on thick or exotic materials.  Weld preparation on arcs or angular contours can present even more of a labor and capital intensive issue.  

Prep angles produced by thermal cutting processes require a secondary operation such as grinding or machining to remove slag and / or the Heat Affected Zone ( HAZ ) before welding.   Each of these operations require material handling time, which is sometimes a large variable in the cost of production, ultimately increasing turnaround time while decreasing efficiency and profit.

Fig. 1  Cuts can easily be defined to create
different bevel profiles via parametric
data added to 2D geometry.  
All of these issues can be alleviated with the addition of Jet Edge’s X-5 five axis water jet system.  The X-5 is capable of producing +/- 50 degree bevels in a multitude of configurations (See Fig 1.) on virtually any geometry.

Since the water jet cut is a “cold” supersonic grinding process it produces no slag or HAZ resulting in a fully prepped, finished part in one operation.   In addition, the cold cutting process does not produce any micro-cracking, recast layer or any change whatsoever in the material characteristics.  

No smoke or fumes are produced during the process, including chromium smoke from stainless steel,  making OSHA compliance a much easier task.  

Finished part tolerances are such that fitting operations become significantly more repeatable and consistent , which ultimately results in additional labor savings. 
With a 12” Z axis travel, thick materials can be processed in one setup saving significant time and production cost.  Laser material mapping and contact surface sensing features are available to accommodate uneven material and the relieving of the material during the cutting process.  The IGEMS CAD/CAM software makes adding bevel features quick and simple.   

In addition to beveling, the EDGE X-5 5-axis waterjet system can produce virtually taper free cuts utilizing the Taper Angle Control (TAC) function.  Thanks to the extensive tech table contained in the IGEMS CAD/CAM software, the EDGE X-5 can compensate for the inherent taper created by the water jet cutting process.  This allows the end user to choose any edge quality and create taper free parts.   The tech table is user definable giving the operator / programmer the ability to change the characteristics of the TAC data for any material as well as create and edit new materials based on individual need.   The new IGEMS TubeCut module adds the capability for cutting features into pipe / tube making the X-5 a powerful tool for any fabrication facility.

The X-5 offers the same rigid, fully supported gantry design as other Jet Edge waterjet motion systems.  It is entirely ball screw driven with top quality motion components, Rexroth AC servo motors and drives, all controlled with a rugged industrial PC designed to withstand any demanding production schedule.  A standard handheld pendant allows the operator the freedom to control the system from any point around the machine. 

With sheet metal enclosures and filtered blowers on each axis to ensure that no environmental contaminants reach the ball screws or ways, the EDGE X-5 is configured for longevity, reliability and low total cost of ownership. 

To complement the EDGE X-5 waterjet system,  Jet Edge offers a full line of UHP intensifier pumps from 30 horsepower to 200 horsepower, 60,000 or 75,000 PSI.  All tie-rod intensifier construction and a patented seal design assure minimal maintenance and maximum up time. 

Contact us today and let a Jet Edge Sales Representative tailor a solution for your business to increase your efficiency and profits while decreasing your turnaround time.  

Information Request Form
1-800-JET-EDGE (538-3343)
+1 763-497-8700

About the Author
Based in Atlanta, David Arthur is Jet Edge’s Southeast and South Central regional manager.