By making sure you choose the right piece of equipment you can avoid making an expensive mistake.

Waterjet features to look out for

Before investing in a waterjet cutter, think about what features you need. Whilst cutting accuracy is important, it is more important to buy a machine to suit the majority of the cutting work you do. Catering for the most detailed work will make the machine a more expensive investment.

  • Heads – Waterjets can run with one or two heads, Consider how long your cutting cycle is and work out in advance whether one head is more cost effective than two heads.
  • Stock plates – Instead of buying a waterjet to match your stock plate consider cutting a large plate down to size. Alternatively, let an overly large stock plate hang out beyond the catcher.

Operator costs

Skilled operators and programmers are required to run waterjet machines. As part of the procurement process, it is essential that you take into account whether you will find it easy to recruit operators and programmers for your waterjet machine. If you are likely to find it difficult recruiting skilled operators and programmers, think about whether a machine with an intelligent control system could be a more economic choice. These are easier to run than CAM and CNC machines, which are a lot more complex in their operation.

Another issue to consider is whether your operator will be running more than one machine at a time. If this is the case, some level of automation will be necessary. Look at features such as stack cutting and cutting performance monitors.

Maintenance issues

It is perfectly reasonable to expect a trained operator to undertake routine maintenance on the machine, but if this is the case, you need to ensure your operators have received sufficient training. Maintenance training is normally available for waterjet cutter operators, if required.

Do you require a specific nesting package?

There are several different nesting packages you can use with a waterjet cutter. Generic nesting packages are fine for many users, but if you use a specific process, a customised nesting package will be easier to use.

Do you have the right facilities?

A number of key facilities are required for the installation of waterjet cutters. Adequate floor space is essential for these are large pieces of equipment. You will also need power, water, drainage, and compressed air. Further to this, make sure you also have enough room for materials to be stored and loaded, and a clean area for maintenance tasks to be carried out. Your operators will also require a programming office.

Be practical when considering what features you need in your waterjet cutter. If necessary, ask for advice from the manufacturers before you buy because investing in the wrong machine will cost you dearly.