High Pressure Water & Abrasive Plumbing


The plumbing for an abrasive waterjet cutting system consists of two subsystems, a supply circuit for the high pressure water and a supply circuit for the abrasive powder.  The following is a description of these two flow circuits and a simple diagram which depicts how they interface with the cutting head.


(1) Abrasive Bulk Hopper

(2) High Pressure Pump

(3) Abrasive Metering Hopper

(4) Cutting Head


The waterjet cutting system uses a pump to supply high pressure water for use in cutting materials.  The high pressure water leaving the pump is conveyed to the cutting head via a flexible stainless steel tube known as a whip.  An air operated, high pressure on/off valve located above the cutting head is used to control when the water flows into the cutting head.


The abrasive mineral garnet must be supplied to the cutting head when hard materials are to be cut.  In order to control the amount of garnet flow to the cutting head, a gravity fed metering hopper is mounted at the top of the Z-axis.  The metering hopper holds a small amount of garnet (about a pound) and uses an air operated on/off valve to start the flow of garnet to the cutting head.  The flow rate out of the metering hopper is controlled through the use of an adjustment dial to precisely control the flow rate.  The metering hopper is re-supplied through a hose connecting it to a pressurized bulk hopper which can store between 300 pounds to over 2,000 pounds of garnet. 


Waterjet Plumbing


The high pressure plumbing system includes a variety of fittings and adaptors to convey the high pressure water to the cutting head.  Shown  here is a 3/8' to 1/4" male to female adaptor and a 3/8" elbow.  All fittings and adaptors are rated to 100,000 PSI.  All fittings feature a weep hole at each connection, which provides a check point to indicate if water is leaking from a plumbing connection.

High Pressure AdaptorHigh Pressure Elbow


Ultra high pressure plumbing specifications require the use of a coned compression fitting with a reverse threaded collar and gland nut in order to properly seal the plumbing connection.  An anti seize lubricant rated for use on stainless steel is used on all high pressure components to prevent galling of the threads

High Pressure Connection


The cutting head assembly contains an orifice (which can be sapphire or diamond) to set the water stream diameter and flow rate.  Typical sizes for the orifice run from 0.005" to over 0.020" and are chosen to meet the demands of the cutting application, with the maximum size being determined by the pump capacity at the application's cutting pressure.   See Pump Sizing.

High Pressure Orifice


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