Water Jet Cutting versus Laser Jet Cutting and Plasma Cutting

Although water jet cutting, plasma cutting, and laserjet cutting are all high-tech and highly accurate methods of metal sheet fabrication, it would benefit us most to know which among these three is the most indispensable and can provide the most required industry applications. The looming question here is, is it laser, plasma, or waterjet cutting machine that you need for your project? 

Almost everyone who is involved in the metal fabrication industry, at one point in time, has come across this question. But then again, we can’t say that there is a definitive answer to this. Simply because it will take into account what you value most. We intend to find a solution to this dilemma by breaking down the technical and economic aspects of these 3 metal cutting solutions.  

High Definition Plasma Cutting

A plasma jet cutter will make use of an electrically-conductive gas to transfer energy from an electrical power source to its plasma cutting torch, then going into the material that is being cut. Highly celebrated for its ability to cut through a variety of metals, plasma cutting method is best described as among the most cost-effective among the three options as indicated below: 

Advantages

  • Ability to cut through a wide array of metals
  • Rapid cutting speeds
  • Delivers cutting accuracies to 0.008” scale
  • Economical
  • Impressive hole quality

Disadvantages 

  • Less accuracy compared to laser and water jet cutting
  • Requires changing of the cutting edge every time you need to deal with different materials.
  • Creates foul-smelling fumes during the cutting process
  • Poor edge quality on a few select materials
  • Laser Cutting

As the name itself suggests, in the laser cutting method, the medium for cutting through a material is a laser beam. Compared to plasma cutting, laser method offers greater cutting precision and at the same time, it is more cost-effective because it requires fewer amounts of energy, most especially when cutting through steel and aluminum. 

Advantages of laser cutting

  • Fast cutting  speed
  • Reliable
  • Efficient job processing
  • Cuts out intricate shapes at faster speeds, at the same time it eliminates the need for tooling.
  • Capable of cutting through a wide variety of materials with different levels of thicknesses
  • Capable of cutting through narrow widths
  • Can cut both nonmetals and metals

Disadvantages 

  • May come as an expensive cutting method. 
  • Power hog
  • Requires high levels of accuracy to place a target for lasers
  • Not applicable to reflexive metals

Water Jet Cutting

When it comes to waterjet cutting, it is your call if you want to use high-pressure water mixed with an abrasive material. Typically used for this purpose is granite powder. Or if you want, depending on the material you are utilizing for your project, you can just have plain but high-pressured water. 

Plain water jet cutting is used to cut through “soft” materials like wood, but when your project involves cutting through a tougher object such as steel you need to abrasive materials to the water. Here are some of the valid reasons why the use of waterjet cutting machine is more advantageous than other alternative material cutting methods.  

Advantages of Waterjet cutting

  • Capable of  cutting through virtually all kinds of material
  • The complete absence of heat-affected zone (HAZ) on the material adjacent to the cut  (this helps maintain its form)
  • Does not create hazardous waste
  • Minimal disposal costs
  • High level of accuracy and precision cutting
  • Capable of cutting through thick materials

Disadvantages of Waterjet cutting

  • The process is likely to generate abrasive dust which can get in the way in the movement of machine parts.
  • Takes a while to cut most metals
  • With a tendency to create noise, unless cutting work is carried out underwater
  • Abrasive materials are pretty expensive to purchase.

After delving deep into the advantages and disadvantages of each of these metal cutting methods, let us now carefully examine how they compare against each other.  

Cost

Concerning the purchasing cost, we qualify plasma cutting as the easiest on the budget while laserjet is certainly on the exorbitant  side. When it comes to the operating cost, taking into account the required materials that will be used for each machine, plasma cutting system would again fare the lowest price, which makes the use of waterjet cutting technology as the most expensive. 

Speed of Operation

The cutting speeds by which these metal cutting methods come in is vital in determining their production rate. It is completely normal for waterjet cutting machines to take some time to finish and get done with a particular cutting job, especially if the material itself is thick. So yes, waterjet cutting method is the slowest and followed by laserjet. When it comes to speed, the fastest metal cutting method is plasma.  

Cutting edge quality

You can easily determine a cutting machine’s level of precision by making a comparative analysis of the actual measurements of the resulting part to the programmed part size. On the premise that there is less heat distortion, we qualify waterjet cutting as most accurate and trailing behind this is laser cutting followed finally by plasma cutting. But it would be worth mentioning here also is that laserjet can have distortion on thick materials.  

Above Ground Fuel Tanks How to Prevent Water Resources Contamination

Above Ground Fuel Tanks How to Prevent Water Resources Contamination


Above Ground Fuel Tanks: How to Prevent Water Resources Contamination

Fuel tanks can be above ground or underground, depending on its application on the facility. An above ground fuel tank usually use a stand or a tripod as its supporting structure, while some of these tanks are bunkered or partially buried on the ground. Farms, factories, and many other industries use fuel tanks to store petroleum products for their operations.

Above ground fuel tanks are much safer to use than the underground fuel tanks because they are easier to maintain and check for any leakage and corrosion that may harm the environment. Leakage from fuel tanks can be very dangerous to the environment. Even the smallest drop of leak can cause contamination of water resources, and also endanger the lives of people, animals, plants around. Fuel spills can accumulate in the soil and rainwater can carry it to water resources. A small drop of fuel can destroy a huge body of water and can wipe out an entire aquatic habitat. Furthermore, it can pollute the water source for livelihood consumption especially for drinking.

However, proper monitoring is still very important because the fuel tanks are still prone to have spillage and other accidents. Since the tank contains a hazardous substance, extra care and attention is needed. Watch out for piping system failures, holes caused corrosion, equipment failure, overfills, and even personnel mistakes.

Consider the Location

When installing an above ground fuel tank, consider the distance of the site to water sources including wells, streams, ponds, rivers and sewers. The tank must be set-up away from these water sources. Also consider other factors such as volume of material stored, drainage patterns, distance to surface water and weather conditions. In severe weather conditions as in a storm, can you be sure that any spilled liquid will not flow directly to any water source?

Choose the area carefully where you will install the fuel tank. Make sure it is away from water resources such as sea, rivers, streams, ponds, wells, and sewers. Read the standards to consider the distance of the fuel tank and water source. Consider other factors such as patterns of drainage, the amount of fuel contained, and weather conditions. Make certain that the area is not prone to floods as well.

Never Overfill

Follow the standard in refilling the tank, and make sure that your personnel is also aware of this. It is crucial that you fill the tank up to its holding capacity only. This is a basic procedure to prevent spillage. As much as possible, choose bunded tanks because these tanks have double steel walls, which are designed specifically to contain any possible leakage. This double-walled tank prevents spillage and it also provides protection from corrosion.

Monitor the Tank Regularly

Regular monitoring of the fuel tank is necessary to ensure that there is no leakage. Through routine monitoring, the tank will also be checked if there is any corrosion or early signs of damage. Fittings, seals, and linings must be inspected by an engineer to make sure everything is secure and in place. Periodic inspection must also be implemented.

Clean the Tank and the Premises Regularly

Keep the tank and the premises clean. Make sure there are no debris, dirt and other stuff that could obstruct the pathway for cleaning and maintenance. Collect any rain water that might have accumulated in the tank.

Make Sure to Meet the Australian Regulations and Standards

Ultimately, follow the guidelines set by the authorities to ensure safety of usage and prevention of water resources contamination.