Waterjet cutting systems use a sharp flow of water to cut intricate shapes through metals and other materials. The water that flows at high pressure and speed, does that through a nozzle of the waterjet cutting system.
This nozzle must be made from superior material so that it supports the high-pressure water jet and does not wear away. Sapphire nozzle is the perfect choice in most cases due to several reasons. Here is everything you need to know about Sapphire nozzles and their advantages.
Sapphire, Ruby, or Diamond?
People often wonder which of the three types of orifices should be selected. There are several factors that can influence your decision, but before that, let’s quickly review these options. The first two options, Sapphire and Ruby, both come from the same mineral, corundum, and are almost the same from a performance and cost standpoint. Both are quite rigid, a reasonable life expectancy is about 40 hours, and the cost is about $ 20.
Although sapphires and rubies are hard, diamonds are even harder. Diamond has a Mohs hardness of 10. Its hardness is almost 4 times greater than Sapphire or Ruby. The orifice of the sapphire or ruby can last 40 hours on average, while the diamond can last at least 1,000. hours! In addition to longer life, the diamond orifice also provides a more consistent jet shape for better cutting results. There is no doubt that diamond is the best mineral for making orifices. However, the problem is that the price of diamonds is considerably high, with prices exceeding 400 US dollars. This will make the price of the diamond orifice 30 times more expensive than the price of your sapphire/ruby.
Advantages of Diamond Orifices
Diamonds have a longer lifespan, better cut quality, and lower long-term cost. Does this mean you should buy diamond orifices? In most cases, yes. This is especially important for companies that need to cut very large, thick or expensive parts.
Additionally, companies running multiple waterjets cutting heads must also use diamond orifices. You may have assumed the opposite situation – more cutting heads means you have to buy cheaper orifices to avoid counter heartburn. However, sapphires and rubies do not work as well as diamonds. The life expectancy of 40 hours is an average. Some rubies can last 15 hours, about 30 hours, about 45 hours. Now consider what this means if you are running a table with three or four cutter heads. Instead of changing the orifice once a year, you need to change the orifice every few days.
When Should Sapphire Nozzles be Used
Although diamonds are the ideal orifice in most cases, there is at least one situation where you may want to choose sapphire or ruby. If you find yourself using many different nozzle / orifice combinations because you have multiple types of materials to cut, you may want to stick with sapphire or ruby. If you use many nozzle/orifice combinations, the operator is more likely to accidentally lose the orifice, or accidentally introduce debris into the orifice, which can cause serious damage. Most people would probably agree that one of the above situations would be better off happening in a $ 20 orifice rather than a $ 400 orifice.
So, these are the reasons to use Sapphire nozzles for your waterjet cutting system. It is an extremely durable and hard material and can withstand the high-pressure water stream without wear for a long time. Though diamonds are even harder and is technically a better choice for orifices, they are expensive and losing one can result in a great loss of money and resources which can be avoided by using Sapphire orifices.