Waterjet cutting machines are incredibly useful devices for shaping a variety of materials. They’re fast, highly-accurate cutting machines that can make very straight, smooth cuts in stainless steel, stone, and many other materials without generating massive amounts of heat that can impact the physical properties of the work piece.
However, there are also some drawbacks to using waterjet cutting solutions for your machine shop. One of the biggest is having to frequently clean out the water tank of metallic chips and process runoff. This process is a long and involved one that gets pretty nasty as operators have to fish chunks of debris out of the waterjet’s collection tank.
Being able to sift out the majority of debris from the waterjet cutting process’ runoff is important for maintaining an environment-friendly machine shop. Additionally, keeping debris out of the water tank is a must for preventing drainage system clogs.
This typically means having to take the machine offline and sending people in with heavy, watertight boots and shovels to scrape the debris out of the tank. However, there’s a better way: using custom wire baskets for waterjet machines to filter out the majority of the debris from the cutting process.
How Custom Wire Baskets Help Keep Recycled Water Clean
A custom-made stainless steel wire basket can help keep a waterjet’s collection tank’s drainage from clogging by acting as a large-scale filter for the pieces of debris that are too big for the recycling system itself to handle.
The amount of open space between the wires plays a major role in determining how effective the basket will be at catching process debris. The tighter the spacing of the wires, the better the stainless steel baskets will be at catching pieces of debris. On the other hand, having some space between the wires is important for ensuring that the basket will drain water quickly enough to prevent it from pooling inside and carrying the debris out.
Adding large, sturdy handles to a waterjet basket can make it much easier for workers wearing thick, heavy-duty gloves to grab and move the basket when they need to.
By catching incoming debris and making the baskets easy to remove and replace, custom waterjet baskets can make the process of cleaning a waterjet system’s collection tank much easier—increasing unit uptime by minimizing time spent on cleaning.
Making a Better Waterjet Basket
Marlin Steel creates numerous custom industrial baskets for a variety of manufacturing applications. In one recent order, the Marlin engineering team was tasked with creating a set of heavy-duty wire baskets for a client’s waterjet cutting machine.
For Marlin’s engineers, the task of designing the basket was relatively simple—they just needed a few details about the machine, whether or not any abrasive was to be added to the water during the cutting process (and if so, what kind of abrasive), what kind of materials would be cut using the machine, and the size of the smallest piece of debris that could be allowed to fall into the tank.
Once the engineering team had that information, they could set about designing the basket, determining the overall size, open space, and materials to be used in the basket’s construction based on the information from the client.
In many cases, grade 304 stainless steel is a good choice for a waterjet basket because it is resistant to corrosion from exposure to plain water. However, some abrasive additives may require an even more resistant alloy, such as grade 316, to ensure that the basket is able to withstand prolonged use.
Because the loads these baskets hold are variable both in size and weight displacement (because they’re randomly deposited), each basket needs to be heavily reinforced to withstand the weight load. In the recent basket design, a series of four extra-thick bars were added to the length of the basket’s base to reinforce the wire mesh running along the bottom of the basket. These bars would support the wire mesh and take the brunt of the stress from the weight of held parts.
Two large, angular handles were added to make the basket easy to grab and hold using both gloves and hook-shaped hoists. This helped to make the basket more compatible with the customer’s automated basket handling solution.
Once the design was complete, it was tested using finite element analysis (FEA) software to make sure that it could survive the client’s specified use conditions for several years’ worth of daily use.
In the end, the client got a large, super-durable filter for their waterjet cutting machine that helped reduce damage to their machinery while improving machine uptime. You can learn more about how you can use custom stainless steel wire baskets to improve the efficiency of your manufacturing floor—or get a custom basket quote—by contacting Marlin Steel today!