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Water Jet Machines Custom Application or Custom Configuration – What's the Difference?

When purchasing a water jet cutting system, there are many factors to consider. Most buyers focus on the obvious factors when making a decision, including budget, footprint, capability, and system compatibility. While these are certainly important issues to consider, you must also think about your intended application, and the ideal configuration necessary to execute that application.

Many times, the terms application and configuration are used interchangeably or so closely together that it’s hard to tell the difference, much less what each term actually means. Understanding the difference between the terms – and how each one applies to your unique system purchase – is important.

Let’s explore the meaning behind the terms application and custom configuration as they relate to water jet cutting systems – and your purchasing decision process.


Custom Application in Water Jet Cutting

In the water jet cutting industry, the term application applies directly to the actual use of high-pressure water to accomplish a set task. Examples of common applications include surface preparation, slitting, piercing unique materials and contour shape cutting. In many cases, these applications can be accomplished by a variety of means. For example, your business could prepare a surface by hand sanding, running it through a machine or sand blasting.

When considering a water jet cutting system purchase, it is important to calculate the cost and quality of performing your intended application with the tool available to you today, under current conditions. Comparing the costs and end quality of executing the application in your current scenario against the potential of using a waterjet cutting system to accomplish the same task should reveal valuable information. In most cases, the investment into a water jet cutting system is likely to pay for itself in money, time and material saved executing your intended application.


Custom Configuration

Where the term application is focused on an end goal, the term configuration relates to the actual customization of a stock system and equipment needed to accomplish the task being performed. When creating a custom configuration, your end goals are likely focused on quality, throughput, and user safety.

To develop the custom configuration necessary to execute your intended application as cost-effectively, efficiently, and safely as possible, it is important to consider a number of critical factors, including:


  • Water: The optimal performance of a water jet cutting system relies on using the proper water source and pressure for the desired application. Consider water pressure, additives like garnet and other factors when designing your custom configuration.
  • Cutting heads and motion: Cutting systems can be configured with one or multiple cutting heads that operate around a three or five axis motion system. Understanding the benefit of multiple cutting heads and the differences in operation capabilities offered by the different motion systems is critical to designing the optimal configuration.
  • Operation: While they are advanced pieces of machinery, water jet cutting systems still require the input of a user to function properly. Consider factors like the system interface, software and lights-out cutting capabilities when developing your configuration.
  • Advanced features: Today’s water jet machines offer a wide range of advance features, like component nesting, laser mapping and shuttle loading and unloading. Explore the various features available to identify those that provide the most valuable potential impact on your application’s efficiency and user safety.


Putting the Two Together

While we’ve clearly established that the terms application and configuration are vastly different things, the two go together when designing, purchasing, and using a water jet cutting system. Simply put, you cannot make an informed or effective buying decision without considering both your application and a custom configuration.

For example, clearly identifying all use applications, then designing a configuration capable of executing each one is a great way to maximize the investment into your system.


Jet Edge is Here to Help

Not all water jet cutting systems are created equally, nor are two applications the exact same. Our team is here to provide the guidance you need to make informed and effective purchasing decisions.

Our experts offer a number of helpful exercises designed to help inform the decision-making process, including:


  • Process reviews: Carefully reviewing your intended application is important in determining if a water jet cutting system is a good fit for your needs. Our team helps you explore all aspects of your intended application and compare them against your current capabilities to determine if a water jet can help you save time and improve quality, efficiency, and user safety.
  • Custom configuration recommendations: Once we have a thorough understanding of your desired application, our experts will help you build a custom configuration. We consider all factors and combine all available equipment and feature options to recommend the configuration that best fits your needs.
  • Test cutting: Once a configuration is identified, you have the option of actually seeing it in action during a test cut. This step allows you to see the true capabilities of the custom configuration and the real-time execution of your actual application.

Whether you are just beginning your exploration of a cutting system or considering upgrading your current capabilities, Jet Edge can help. Schedule an application analysis today to learn more about the potential impact a Jet Edge system can have on your operations.




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Since 1984, Jet Edge has been designing and manufacturing Ultra-High-Pressure Water jet technology that doesn't back down. Our systems are used around the world in a broad range of industries from the world's leading airlines, to automotive, aerospace and industrial manufacturers, and machine job shops. 

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