Previously, we discussed 3 common problems that can be experienced when working with waterjets, including overstroking, leaks, and a short seal life, and how to solve them. While they are a dependable alternative to laser or plasma cutting equipment, everyday wear and tear and improper maintenance can lead to a few common problems. However, knowing how to approach these issues can decrease your downtime and get your waterjet cutting machine back up and running quickly!

All six of these tips were recently published in The Fabricator, and  we encourage you to read the full article here.

4.     Hydraulic Fluid Pressure

If the pump isn’t creating enough pressure, you should:

  • Verify that the pressure control knob is correctly set, provided it’s controlled manually on your machine.
  • Confirm that the compensator is able to raise pump pressure by isolating it from your waterjet’s pressure control circuit.
  • Measure temperatures of hydraulic relief valves. If you find increases compared to the components around it, that lets you know that a valve is opening.

After the intensifier, operators usually find this to be the most common problem spot.

5.     Hydraulic Temperature

Normal operating temperature is something that is determined by the manufacturer based on fluid weight. If it exceeds the rating, fluid becomes thin and degrades, which will decrease its ability to lubricate and protect the necessary components.

The most likely culprit for a sudden rise in temperature is your machine’s cooling system:

  • If it’s water-cooled, try adjusting the modulating valve to increase the flow of water and decrease temperature.
  • If it’s air-cooled, one cause could be the ambient temperature of your shop. Once you’ve ruled that out, check the fan to make sure it’s generating sufficient airflow and is clean, and reset the thermal overload device if it has been tripped.

If it’s not the cooling system, inspect the temperature of the hydraulic relief valve (if it cracks open it can expel large amounts of heat and overload the cooler and heat exchanger), the cord going to the level and hydraulic fluid temperature sensor, and finally the temperature sensor itself.

6.     Water Pressure

If you experience periods of sustained low water pressure with the cutting head on, you should:

  • Inspect the orifice to make sure it is in good working order.
  • Check the on/off valve, bleed-down valve, and high-pressure tubing for leaks.
  • Repair or replace check valves if necessary.

If your machine senses that the pressure of the water travelling to the intensifier is too low, it will shut it off. To remedy this, confirm the water coming to the pump is turned on, swap out filters, and take a look at the inlet cutting water valve to make sure it’s not clogged or failed.

Remember, no machine is perfect. By keeping these tips in mind, you will be able to respond to incidents promptly when they happen.

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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