A UNIQUE cutting machine that uses water at more than 6,000 times atmospheric pressure to slice through metals and composites has been unveiled by the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.
More than 100 manufacturers visited the AMRC’s Advanced Manufacturing Park headquarters to see the new WARDJet GCM composite milling machine put through its paces.
The machine is one of the largest combined water jet cutters and machining centres in the world, bringing together state-of-the-art, high-pressure water jet-cutting technology with high-speed five- axis machining capabilities and sophisticated software.
It can cope with work pieces up to 1.5 metres high and around four metres across and has a five-axis waterjet head that can rotate an unlimited number of times without having to unwind pipes or cables.
AMRC researchers will use the machine to develop new ways of using water jet technology to cut metal and composite parts for the aerospace and other industries, and new techniques to improve performance and productivity.
“We are exploring different processes such as water jet cleaning, milling and drilling, and also investigating ways to increase the power of the water jet,” said AMRC water jet project manager Dr Gustavo Escobar.
“This will increase productivity and allow precision cutting to accuracies of a few microns.
“We want to bring the water jet process closer, in terms of accuracy and surface quality, to competing technologies.”
WARDJet, which has headquarters in the US and has a UK base in Wincobank, Sheffield, tailor-made the machine for the AMRC’s Factory of the Future.
WARDJet’s founder, Rich Ward added: “We’re also looking at putting metrology onto that machine, so we can carry out 3D imaging of the part and compare that to the model, cut and measure the part, then compare that to what we had before.”