“If you need a machine and don’t buy it, then you will ultimately find you have paid for it but don’t have it” – Henry Ford.
It is not intended to compare particular brands of equipment, but rather to provide useful questions to ask your sales person, and other background information. Much of this advice pertains specifically to precision machining with a 2-D waterjet machining systems, but most of the information is general enough for any waterjet purchase. Each manufacturer of equipment has their own ideas as to what makes a “good” machine, and some of these may be in conflict with what is outlined here.
This compilation of things will prove a useful starting point, when purchasing a new waterjet. There are quite a few manufacturers out there that make good equipment. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which fits your needs the best.
- Evaluate several different makes and models.
- Contact people who already own the equipment you are looking at.
- Have sample parts of your design cut while you watch, then time and measure the results.
- Watch for hidden costs such as spare parts, software upgrades, or excessive consumable consumption (power, water, abrasive).
- Understand manufacturers claims of accuracy.
There are huge variations between equipment, accuracy, ease of use, capability, operating cost, and so forth. Some manufacturers make very bold claims that sound too good to be true, while others are more honest and conservative. This can make two very different machines seem similar. Bold claims are easy to make. Making precision parts easily, at the lowest cost in the least amount of time is much more difficult.
Put the manufacturers to the test, and don’t take them at their word. Watch parts be made from start to finish: drawing the part, programming the tool path, and machining the part. Then, measure the parts and see how they actually come out. If you are comparing two or more different manufactures, then repeat the test for each machine.
Some key things to note when getting sample parts made:
- What pressure was it cut at?
- What size jewel was used?
- What size mixing tube was used?
- How much abrasive was used?
- What was the total time to make the part?
- What kind of tolerances were you able to achieve?
- If you cut two of the same part in two different locations on the machine, do they come out the same?
Then, with the above information, you can much more accurately compare two different machines.
Find waterjet manufacturers
Whether you are looking for used waterjets for sale, or new waterjets for sale, you should join the Waterjet Web Reference e-group discussion. This is also a great place to sell your used equipment.