3.3.11

Water Jet Cutting : Stone Cutting

Using water jet cutting system to cut natural or engineered stone may be one of the top listed innovations in stone cutting machinery technology. It started out as a very expensive way for stone cutting, although due a gradual price reduction on machinery and an increase offer of cutting services, it is actually relatively affordable and in many situations may save you money.
Water jet cutting systems, can be used in several ways, one way is to design specific shapes that would be more costly or impossible to do with other machinery, like a CNC for example. The designing capable of being made with this technology is virtually limitless, although in many cases the resistance of the stone is the greatest limitation. 
The use of engineered stone in water jet cutting designs is a great asset; it's highly resistant compared to any natural stone. Anyone who has worked with engineered stone knows that the product is really resistant, you can actually cut a 2m rod 2 cm x 2 cm, with a good resistance to shock, in most natural stones, especially marble or limestone, just lifting a piece that long and thin will break it.
The use of water jet cutting in the stone business is seen as a very promising one, although for day to day normal cutting, the diamond disk is more cost effective on straight cuts. Some machinery manufacturers have built hybrid stone cutting machines, with both disk cutting and water jet cutting. Using these hybrid machines can really reduce raw material wastage, and if we are cutting quartz countertops, the savings can be enormous.
When cutting with a diamond disk, most people may not be aware of this, but the bigger the diamond disk the less efficient is the cutting, not in quantity, but in slab optimization. The image you will notice that to make a perfect cut that means the bottom of disk goes right to the end point of our cut to size piece, the disk will need extra cutting distance. In the image the rectangle image you will find a sketch of a cutting procedure for a slab, cutting this slab with a diamond disk requires a bit of experience and time to solve. Point A and B are critical points, using water jet cutting it's really simple to solve. The hybrid machinery available would easily identify these stress points and exchange the disk for the water cutting system, so you would have most of your slab cut with a diamond disk, and the stress points would be perfectly cut with the incorporated water jet cutting system.
What is normally done in this situation, both pieces would have to be separated, giving it a safe distance for cutting. In this case the slabs is big enough for such operation, however in many cases it may not be possible. Although to avoid stress point A, distance will not totally solve the problem, your best option would be flipping the polished end of the slab, cutting on the rough back of the slab, where imperfect cuts may be hidden.
I can also see another way of doing this cut with a diamond disk ... I would need to elevate the cutting area, in this case the slab, the disk would then do the cutting not at the bottom (position T), but at X level.
Using a CNC machine can also solve this problem, however timely.
Water jet cutting systems can also be used for designing purposes. Many floor designs can be perfectly cut using this type of technology. No need for those giant paper templates to do the job anymore.
I have attached some pictures that may give you an idea of the artistic/design capability of this technology. 

1 comments:

Ginger Sanders said...

Thank so much for the post. Water jet stone cutting has always been interesting to me, but I've never really been able to figure it out. I'm still trying to find a good explanation.

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