An article featured in The Fabricator interviewed Troy Cain from Washington, a man who has made a business for himself cleaning waterjet cutting beds and disposing of waterjet waste to landfills. His work in the waterjet industry inspired a series of trial and error attempts to find a way to recycle and reuse the ruby garnet abrasive that remains in the waste by-product of the waterjet cutting process. He has been operating Garnet Recyclers of Washington for just under 2 years and says that more recycling facilities could open up all over if it works out.
Garnet is the most common abrasive waterjet cutting material due to its make-up; garnet forms sharp edges when fractured and it is relatively chemically inert (so it doesn’t react when cutting metals or when it is disposed). After the cutting process the waterjet waste is a mixture of abrasives, metal, and water; a mix that is most commonly re-used as filler in concrete and asphalt applications.
Cain faced problems finding ways to effectively separate the metal remnants from the spent abrasives. He recently refined his recycling system figuring out the right combination of drying times and screenings to separate the materials.
The recycling process produces 80-90 mesh. The most common abrasive grade is 80 mesh, but the Cain points out that most metal fabricators will switch to a mix of 80-90 mesh to reduce consumable costs.
Cost savings and a more environmentally friendly operation? It sounds like something any manufacturer would be interested to look into.
Want to learn more? Read the full article here.