Waterjets are reliable cutting alternatives to laser or plasma cutting machines and have come a long way over the past decade. Like all machines, however, problems are sure to crop up now and then. Knowing what to do when they do will help you overcome them quickly to minimize unnecessary downtime,

The Fabricator recently published an in-depth article on how to troubleshoot six common waterjet issues. We’ve highlighted three here for you, but we encourage you to read the full article if you would like to learn more.

1. Overstroking

It’s normal for the intensifier to peak when the machine is starting up or is changing between pressures, but during normal operation it should be smooth. However, if the hydraulic piston starts travelling too fast in one direction or more than the pump can support, an alarm will sound.

If this happens, step one is to reset the alarm. Then:

  • Turn the cutting head off.
  • Turn on the pump, and give pressure time to build up.
  • Turn the cutting head back on.
  • Monitor the stroke rate of the intensifier either manually or on the machine’s interface.

If that doesn’t work, your next steps depend on whether or not the orifice is overstroking in both directions or just one. To see the detailed directions about what to do in each case, view the full article.

2. Leaks

Damage to high-pressure seals and hoops is the most common cause of leaks. Here, you want to pay attention to how often the leaks are happening and where they’re coming from:

  • Do you see drips once every few strokes? That tells you that the seals are wearing down and should be replaced relatively soon.
  • Is water dripping with every stroke? If so, new seals should be installed as quickly as possible.
  • Are leaks coming from other areas? That likely means you have a loose fitting, worn part, or damaged seal that should be addressed promptly before components nearby can be damaged.

If you continue encountering problems, there are a variety of more specific issues you can watch for and fixes you can try. Check out the full article to learn more.

3. Seal Life Too Short

Although seals do have naturally short lives, there are actions you can take to help them last longer including:

  • Using water that’s of the right quality.
  • Verifying water pressure and volume meet the required standard.
  • Cleaning all parts to get rid of built-up debris.
  • Making sure there aren’t any cracks in the high-pressure cylinder.
  • Ensuring the plunger bearing isn’t too worn.

Stay tuned for more helpful tips on troubleshooting your waterjet coming soon in Part 2!

Westway Machinery is the exclusive distributor of Flow machinery – the global leader in waterjet cutting solutions – in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes and the exclusive parts depot for Flow products Canada-wide. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services! 

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