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In recent years, several machine manufacturers have launched machines under the Micro category but on closer inspection it’s clear the definition of Micro is actually very different between manufacturers. For many, it is simply a smaller machine whereas for Water Jet Sweden a Micro machine is primarily designed for very high precision manufacture of micro components. At the same time, there are other options if you need to process small items or make narrow cuts.
Micro machine for micro components
The Micro machine is a high precision tool cutting with narrow incision (≥ 0.2 mm) to manufacture micro components. Maximum table area is 1 x 1 metres even though a smaller area often is used. The machine is based on Fine Abrasive Water Jet (FAWJ) cutting and has a number of unique design features to provide extremely high precision (± 0.01 mm/300 mm).
- Made of Mineral Casting Bearlit, a composite material that is rigid, anti-vibration and withstands temperature fluctuations, the table frame is integrated with the machine construction and motion system as one complete unit for keeping high precision.
- Micro parts often require advanced fixtures so the NCM 10 Micro has a palletised cutting table, fixed into the table frame, with unique opportunities for fixture arrangements and a free standing water catcher to keep high precision.
- The stainless steel water catcher is rubber suspended to avoid vibrations and thermal influence.
- X/Y motion axes are fitted with Renishaw Invar Scale, a micrometer scale with extremely low expansion coefficient and high resolution.
- The cutting head, WJS Micro Cutting Tool, is a precision tool specially designed for the FAWJ cutting process to provide the most accurate water jet cutting in the world.
The NCM 10 Micro provides all the advantages of abrasive water jet cutting (cold process) and covers the gap between the EDM and Micro Laser making it a popular choice in industrial sectors such as electronics, medicine, biotechnology and precision engineering.
Micro Cutting Head for narrow incisions
The Micro Cutting Head offers an incision down to 0.2 mm, compared to traditional water jet cutting that normally has 0.7-1.1 mm incision. In addition to processing of fine parts, the FAWJ technology is sometimes used when processing valuable materials such as precious metals and special alloys, since narrow incisions offers less material loss.
The Micro Cutting Head itself is also available as a cutting tool for the X-series machines (NCX) and Premium machines (NCP). The NCX and NCP both have a CNC control system and size of cutting table which offer the ability to handle the delicate software-controlled abrasive feeding of the FAWJ process with the software controlling the feed rate, sense critical levels in the abrasive buffer and quickly detects blockage. When the Micro Cutting Head is applied on NCH or NCX a minimum 0.3 mm focusing tube is recommended compared to ≥ 0.2 mm on the Micro-machine.
Small machines for small items
If just a small machine and small cutting area is required, and the incisions and accuracy of traditional abrasive water jet cutting are sufficient, there are two other machine models available: H-model (NCH) or X-series (NCX).
H-model (NCH) is an entry-level machine system and a complete workstation for all types of water jet cutting in 2D. Compared to its predecessor the X-series it has less optional features but still delivers the same high quality cutting. It is designed with similar advanced technologies and with the world patented gantry design that provides a high quality, long life cutting performance. H-model is available in sizes 1 x 1 m, 2 x 1 metre and 3 x 1.5 metres.
X-series (NCX) this offers more optional features and tools, and is operated by the PanelOne ® operator system. X-series is a high performance water cutting machine for any kind of 2D cutting. It is available in five sizes from 1 x 1 metre to 4 x 2 metres.
Both the NCH and NCX are equipped with a single Z-axis. Multiple cutting heads for pure water jet cutting (PWJ), or an extra cutting head for abrasive water jet (AWJ), can be mounted to get increased cutting capacity.
Choosing the right “Micro”
When using the wide market definition of Micro machines, Water Jet Sweden offers three different types of “micro” systems: NCM 10, NCH 10 and NCX 10. All three machines are based on a small cutting table of 1 x 1 metres. Deciding on the best model for each particular application depends on the requirements for tolerances level and incision width, summarised in the table below.
The Micro machine (NCM 10 Micro) is specially designed for machining of micro components.
A H-model 1 x 1 meter machine (NCH 10), standard equipped with screen guards and Fanuc 8.5 “Touch Screen operator panel.
X-series 1 x 1 meter (NCX 10) with PanelOne ® operator’s panel. This with built-in protective walls.
A small part cut with FAWJ (Fine Abrasive Water Jet cutting)
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