When a Louisiana contractor needed a faster method of cutting holes into Inconel® pipe for a unique refinery project, they called Jet Edge in St. Michael, Minn.
The contractor was in a bind. After two days at throwing everything they had at the 1.625" thick Inconel with a hole boring drill, they had yet to cut a single a hole, and they needed to cut eight 10" holes.
Jet Edge confirmed that abrasive waterjet could quickly cut through the superalloy and referred them to Midwest Mobile Waterjet (MMW), a St. Paul, Minnesota-based mobile waterjet contractor with the expertise and equipment to complete the challenging project.
"Inconel is very difficult to machine or shape using traditional machining methods because it causes rapid work hardening," explained David Arthur, Jet Edge's Southeast regional manager. "Often after just the first pass, it will plastically deform either the work piece or the cutting tool. Water jet works best for Inconel due to the fact that it is a cold hypersonic grinding process. We referred the contractor to our customer Midwest Mobile Waterjet because they have the perfect Jet Edge equipment for the project and they could get it done fast."
MMW President Brian Gleeson took on the challenge and headed to Louisiana, armed with one of his many Jet Edge waterjet intensifier pumps and a special cutting tool that he designed for the project. Gleeson performed a test cut and demonstrated that a 36,000 psi waterjet could cut a 10" hole in the Inconel in less than 30 minutes without damaging the inside of the 24" diameter pipe, and maintain a required tolerance of +/- 1/8". He made the cut using 3 lbs of abrasive per minute and 3 gallons of water per minute.
"It was obvious then and there that abrasive waterjet cuttingwas the right choice," he said. "Total cutting time went from days to hours and left a fantastic cut quality with no heat affected zone."
Gleeson noted that his Jet Edge iP36-250DX intensifier pumpperformed flawlessly throughout the project, and said he was grateful for Jet Edge's referral.
"We like representing Jet Edge and are proud they trust our work quality enough to refer work to us," Gleeson said.
Find Out More
Midwest Mobile Waterjet
1-800-JET-EDGE (538-3343) or 763-497-8700.