Element Six enters global water jet cutting market
10 May 2007
Element Six, a world leader in the production of synthetic diamond for industrial applications, has successfully entered the water jet cutting market. The company has launched a range of water jet cutting inserts based on synthetic diamond that can dramatically improve the life of nozzles that deliver the cutting jet.
The diamond inserts developed by Element Six have undergone rigorous testing with a number of leading water jet manufacturers, leading to approval by several companies in Europe. Tests in the North American market are expected to be complete in mid-2007. The Long Life Synthetic Diamond Nozzle Insert for water jet cutting is primarily designed for high volume production environments where productivity and performance are important.
The superior performance offered by synthetic diamond in this application has already led to a number of successful sales in this sector. The development comes at a time when water jet cutting is experiencing considerable growth and users are looking for solutions that increase the productivity of machines and allow replacement part inventories to be reduced.
Wide industrial application
Water jet cutting is a technique that has wide industrial application. It is capable of cutting everything from chocolate bars to steel, paper to plastic or wood and granite. The reason for its growth is the fact that water jet cutting is fast, flexible, precise and cost-effective, as well as being a green technology. Currently the market is growing at a rate of around 12 per cent a year.
The key to good water jet performance lies in producing a fine jet of water (plus abrasive for cutting harder materials) under high pressure that can cut materials precisely. Water is forced through a nozzle assembly. This assembly contains an insert that is the key for the functionality of a water jet device. The performance of a water jet nozzle assembly can be affected by wear, misalignment and damage to the insert. As a result, this component is key to the overall performance and productivity of the water jet equipment. “Element Six has developed a range of synthetic diamond inserts that can outperform other insert materials used within the nozzle,” explains René Diks, marketing and sales manager for industrial components at Element Six. “In comparison with sapphire inserts, for example, the life of a diamond insert is fifteen to twenty times better.” Tests proved that after 1000 hours of operation with pure water at 3500 bar there are no measurable changes in jet quality and water usage. Tests with abrasive water jet cutting proved that after 100,000 cycles (on/off cycles) there are no measurable changes in jet quality and water usage. “In addition to the increased lifetime of the insert, the focusing tube has a longer life and abrasive usage is reduced. All these result in the lowest operational costs for the end-user,” points out René Diks.
The nozzle inserts are available in a variety of bore diameters ranging from 100 µm to 400 µm. The choice of geometry its determined by the application, with diameters between 100 µm and 200 µm optimized for pure water cutting, and the larger diameter range of 200 µm to 400 µm designed for abrasive cutting, though specially tailored bore geometries can also be offered. The outer geometry of the insert is fixed and, therefore, the mounting procedure for all bores is similar.
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