The Fine Abrasive Waterjet (FAWJ) process is a refinement of the already proven Abrasive WaterJet (AWJ) process, whereby the advantages of AWJ are applied to the micro segment. The Fine process for intricate details is optional for Premium and Grand models, but the Micro machine model is designed for true micro component manufacturing.
It’s use in the micro segment, where wall thicknesses in part profiles can be as little as 0.2mm benefits from the cold process where mechanical properties of the material are not affected by heat and there is no thermal distortion as is found with the laser process.
The Micro machine compliments EDM and Micro Laser processes with the following advantages:
Fast set up with little or no fixturing requirement
Virtually any material, no need for electrical conductivity such as with EDM
No heat effected zone, as with Laser
Wide thickness range of materials
The medical sector has been one of the first to adopt the Micro model for the production of items such as implant plates. This sector has realized the ability to cut with low force erosion, leaving a virtually burr free part with no heat effected zone. Given the thin wall thicknesses, dynamic structures can be manufactured that will behave elastically without failure due to any structural fatigue.
Traditional EDM wire erosion shops benefit from the introduction of Micro to complement their existing capabilities. Those products such as rubber extrusion dies that require tolerances no greater than 10µm can be produced much faster in materials up to 12mm thick in tool steel at a magnitude of 10x faster. The manufacturing engineer can choose the appropriate process for each type of job.
linear encoders mounted to a frame that isolates the structure from vibration and thermal effects repeatability over a 500mm working area can be in the order of 2.5µm. With the addition of the possible inaccuracies of the cutting process, part tolerances of 10µm in 10mm thick materials can be realized.
The challenges that have been overcome to allow successful Micro processing have mainly been the entrainment of suitable abrasive media in a water stream that is focused through a nozzle of diameter 0.3mm. The media is accelerated into a focused cutting beam travelling at over 600m/sec to erode the material into the shape dictated by the CAD design. This allows the efficient production of single piece parts with almost no set-up time when changing jobs or material types.
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