Every waterjet shop wants to produce their parts at the lowest possible cost. To achieve this objective, nothing is more important than a correctly sized waterjet pump.
But selecting the perfect pump to power your waterjet system can be a mind-boggling task. There are so many choices and considerations to make. Do I need a hydraulic intensifier pump or can I get by with a cheaper direct drive pump? How much pressure do I need? How much horsepower? The list goes on…
To help you make an informed purchasing decision, we have put together this short guide. For more information, please consult with your Jet Edge regional sales manager
What’s Your Application?
Picking the perfect pump always begins by identifying your specific application. This will help your waterjet pump manufacturer determine your pressure, horsepower, flow rate and other requirements. What are you cutting? How fast do you need to cut the product? Can we make your throughput requirements with a single nozzle? Does the application require multiple nozzles? Can the cutting application be performed with straight water? Does the application require the addition of abrasive?
A reputable waterjet manufacturer will always help their customer determine the most efficient and cost-effective pump for their application.
The All Important Test Cut
Most waterjet manufacturers offer free test cuts to help their customers determine the appropriate pump and motion system set up for their application. During the test cut, the manufacturer will run a series of tests to determine the most efficient cutting pressure, horsepower, and speed to achieve the customer’s throughput requirements.
During the test, we determine if we can process the customer’s material with straight water or if we need to add abrasive. We also determine how much pressure and what orifice size and how many cutting heads are required to make their throughput requirements. If the application requires abrasive, we will determine how much abrasive is required and the most efficient orifice/nozzle combination. Once we have determined these factors, we can size the pump and flow rate.
The test cut will help you select the most cost-effective pump for your application and also will arm you with cutting data that will help you keep operating costs as low as possible by running your system at the most cost-efficient pressure, using the least amount of abrasive necessary and running the appropriate number of cutting heads to achieve desired throughput.
Intensifier vs. Direct Drive
There are two basic types of waterjet pumps, direct drive pumps (also known as positive displacement or crank pumps) and hydraulic intensifier pumps. A direct drive pump uses a crank to drive the pump’s plunger, while an intensifier uses a hydraulic cylinder to drive the plunger. Direct drive pumps cost less than hydraulic pumps up front, but require much more maintenance. They are a good economical alternative for shops that only require an entry level system for low-volume cutting. Intensifier pumps are recommended for shops that need to process higher volumes of material and thicker materials.
Extreme Cutting Pressures
In the last few years, waterjet pump manufacturers have begun offering pumps with operating pressures exceeding 90,000 psi. These extreme pressure pumps cost more up front than 60,000 psi pumps, but can greatly increase productivity and can lower operating costs as much as 40% by cutting faster and using less electricity, water and garnet.