Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  17 May 2009

ENGINEERING: Now For On-Site Waterjet Cuts


Recent Western Cape Business News

DURING recent years Bellville-based Waterjet Technology, after having played pioneering work in this new technology, has grown this process as the preferred method of cutting in many applications.

Managing director Simon Baschiera says with an ever increasing demand for this precision cutting technology the company had to expand its offering by acquiring a five axis machine, which can precision cut multi-dimensional shapes in a single step. Additionally, the computerised optical measuring systems, which provide for reverse engineering and inspection, were also recently introduced.

The latest development is that this Waterjet Cutting Process can now be taken to any location in the country, with a mobile UHP Waterjet system, to provide on-site cutting solutions.

On - Site Waterjet provides the same advantages as fixed table Waterjet cutting, says Baschiera, but right at the source of the required solution. The process can cut virtually any material, cleanly, accurately and without effects of heat on an in situe platform.

A mobile diesel engine powered crank and plunger type pump is used to generate 2500-3000 bar of water pressure. When abrasive is mixed with this high pressure/high speed water and focused into a small calibrated beam, a highly effective and versatile cutting tool is born. This beam cuts, by means of erosion or abrasion, through virtually any material, he says.

When it comes to using this tool for on-site solutions, special equipment for cutting into vessels such as pipes and tanks are available. Additionally jigs to cut holes, straight and even profiled cuts have been developed.

Other solutions for completely custom cuts are being developed on an ongoing basis.

As can be seen in these images, a rotating tool was conceptualised and manufactured for this special application. A ring inside the 7.5 inch pipe, clad with Stellite (hard faced) had to be removed. This proved to be virtually impossible by any other means, so Waterjet got involved and made quick work.

The major advantages of this abrasive waterjet process is that it eliminates the need for oxy-acetylene (flame) or plasma cutting, both of which are unsuitable in fire hazardous environments. Besides this hazard there is also the fact that many special materials cannot be cut by these metal melting processes, where waterjet can, Baschiera says.

In conclusion:

There is no flame or risk of fire.

There are no damaging effects of heat at the cut area - no slag, burrs, mechanical changes to material properties or hardening of the cut edge.

Cut is clean and can even be executed at angles, thereby creating a weld prep.

WJ will cut through carbon steel, stainless steel, cement, refractory, insulation, rubber and laminated or combinations of these materials.

Cuts can be executed on site and in confined spaces.

Reduces downtime of plant - process is quick and requires little finishing off after cut.

Reduces health and safety risks to humans, unlike gas cutting, grinding, and so on.

All in all, on-site waterjet can replace many labour intensive and dangerous tasks in one efficient and advanced process. Successful jobs completed thus far include cutting of rigging holes and base of large steel tanks, cutting of special steel pipes lined with cemented refractory and cutting of various parts of plant for replacement at Chevron Refinery,” according to Baschiera.

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